Malawi is a densely populated country in Southern Africa with a government that is committed to creating a technologically driven middle-income country. Malawi is predominately rural, with only 20%
As the Turing Trust is based in Scotland where there are substantial Malawian links there are significant synergies in supporting our Malawian partners. Scotland and Malawi have developed close ties over their 159 year relationship. We started working in Malawi with the Mzuzu-based Centre for Youth and Development in 2015. With support from the Scottish Government and local communities in Malawi, we are committed to bringing equal digital opportunity to students and young people across the country.
Why IT Skills?
Without basic digital literacy, students cannot make the most of the online world, and the transformative technologies many of us take for granted. Imagine bookkeeping for your business without being able to do a quick spreadsheet, or trying to access information without the ability to search online for what you’re looking for.
Critically for young people IT skills open up career opportunities and make university more accessible. Since some of our partner schools have started teaching IT they’ve seen 20% more of their students attending university.
IT skills can also have an important economic impact too. On average those with IT skills are able to increase their incomes by 39%.
Our work began in Malawi’s Northern Region where we felt our work would make the greatest impact. Over the last few years we have made significant progress, bringing IT resources to 32% of all the secondary schools in the Northern Region. Therefore, we have begun to expand our work into the Central and Southern Regions. The interactive map shows the location and photos of the schools we are working with.
Key to map
CYD base, Mzuzu
Click on an icon on the map to see the name and photos of the school.
We have a three-fold approach to how we are working in Malawi:
- Creating IT labs in schools with donated IT equipment. Each school receives around 20 PCs which are loaded with our offline e-library software.
- Supplying IT maintenance services to schools. Once a school has signed up to participate in our programme we continually monitor and support schools to ensure their IT equipment is fully functioning. This means that we repair or replace any non-working equipment for many years after we first install computers at a school.
- Providing training for teachers on how to use e-learning resources in lessons, PC maintenance and troubleshooting, and how to get the most from the offline resources we provide through our e-library.
One of the most important parts of our work in Malawi is the maintenance service we provide to schools. For each school we work with we agree to provide them with a maintenance service that works a bit like an agreement to lease a computer. This runs from term to term and is designed to be easily affordable for schools. This services is pivotal for a number of reasons:
- They encourage local buy-in meaning that the schools and communities are more likely to positively adopt our work and invest time in making the most of the PCs.
- They remove the huge upfront cost to schools looking to buy PCs. Even second-hand PCs are out of reach for most schools. Signing up to our maintenance service means that the cost is spread across a few years and throughout this period the school receives support from our team whenever they need it.
- Throughout this period we also provide schools with training on IT resources and computer maintenance which builds their capacity to provide develop IT solutions that best meet their specific needs.
- We also provide training to teachers on how to engage with digital technology in the classroom. This makes teaching easier and helps students build their digital skills outside of computer studies classes.
Our Partnership Approach
Partnership is the foundation of our work in Malawi. We work closely with the Centre for Youth and Development, a local Malawian organisation, to ensure that our projects are locally-led and meet the needs of Malawian teachers and students. We combine our expertise of delivering IT to schools with our partner’s local knowledge so that our work can be adapted to meet local needs. Every year we jointly review all of our work with our partner, to analyse the impacts we’re making in Malawi to see how we can continually improve and provide an ever better service to the schools we’re supporting.
We have now been working in Malawi since 2016 and some of our partner schools have had computers for more than three years. We are beginning to see some positive longer term educational outcomes including:
- improved exam results
- increased female participation in IT
- increased numbers of students from our partner schools achieving a place at one of the public universities in Malawi
IT skills are a prerequisite for admission to public universities in Malawi and our resources are enabling students to gain these skills often for the first time. Our 2019 Monitoring and Evaluation report showed that at some beneficiary schools university enrolment had increased by as much as 20 per cent.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Ongoing monitoring and evaluation is crucial to understanding the impact of our work and identifying areas for improvement. To date, this has included formal rounds of data collection using standardised questionnaires and research by MSc students from the University of Edinburgh.
If you would like to find out more, you can read our full Monitoring and Evaluation reports.
You can also access the results of the research by the MSc students who have conducted their fieldwork in Malawi.
Elness Simwera, top of her class in ICT, talks about how important it is for girls in Malawi to learn to use computers.
Students from Chibavi Community Day Secondary School awarded bronze medals at the African Science Buskers Festival.
Our container containing 1600 PCs and accessories arrived in Mzuzu, Malawi and was unloaded in a single day!
Do you have any IT equipment to donate?
Our community-owned, off-grid computer laboratory powered by solar energy and low energy Raspberry Pi computers.
Our activities stem from our base in Edinburgh where we teach trainees how to refurbish IT equipment.