The Malawi team is grateful to God and happy to tell you the feeding program is going to resume this week despite Covid-19. This Pandemic has shaken the whole world and almost everything got stuck. Schools in Malawi were closed for about five solid months. The schools re-opened in two phases. The first phase opened on 7th September, 2020 (form 4 and Standard 8 students) because they are exam classes. We were unable to re-start feeding program with these standard 8 students because they had a short period of time to prepare for their Exams and it could not work with the feeding program. The second phase re-opened on 12th October (Standard 1-7 and forms 1,2, and 3 students). The government implemented some restrictions towards feeding programs but the headteachers pleaded with the government to allow them to be conducting feeding programs and it worked. The headteachers ensured the government that they are going to follow covid-19 precautions when feeding the kids such as:
1. Do not borrow each other's plates, cups and spoons
2. When receiving porridge everybody should wear his or her face mask
3. Observing social distance when receiving porridge
4. The teacher for every class will be commanding pupils row by row to go outside and receive porridge on the line.
5. Shifting the pupils as the government has commanded so that crowding can be avoided (standard 1 and 3 go to school on the same day while standard 2 and 4 have their special days as well).
6. Class teachers also will be monitoring the pupils when receiving the porridge.
We managed to visit all the six schools in two days. We had a wonderful time talking and reasoning together with the headteachers and deputy headteachers about the feeding program. We visited the following schools;
1. MLIRA PRIMARY SCHOOL
Enrolment for this school is 789. The school is ready to start a feeding program but the headteacher will call us about the date which we can go and deliver maize and other items such as sugar, salt and forms for them to be filing after feeding the kids. This school is only supported by Operation Save
2. MCHOKERA PRIMARY SCHOOL
The Headteacher for this school is Mr. Chipala. The Deputy headteacher is Mrs. Mindozo. The school has 715 kids and 12 teachers.
CHALLENGES WHICH THIS SCHOOL IS FACING
i. Lack of spoons and plates
ii. Lack of sugar and salt
3. KATOBO PRIMARY SCHOOL
The headteacher of this school is Mr. Msanyam. The deputy headteacher is Mrs. Black. This school has 763 kids (These are from standard 1-5). Katobo primary school has 7 teachers.
CHALLENGES FACED BY THIS SCHOOL
i. They don't have maize
ii. No pots but they borrow from villages. The pots which they borrow are small and this makes the cooks cook the porridge many times for it to be enough for everyone. This challenge consumes much time for classes.
iii. Lack of salt and sugar
iv. No kitchen for cooking the porridge and they are anxious on how this problem will be solved during this coming rainy season.
v. No store room at this school. They borrow the house of the school committee chairperson to keep things. The man is trustworthy and he will be able to keep this feeding program maize which we are about to give them.
4. MOM'S DAY CARE
The headteacher of this school is Mr. Stanley Naman. Enrollment for this school is 117. Mom's has 6 teachers and two cooks. The kids are always divided into three classes;
i. Baby class / Day care
This class has got 21 kids and are from 3 months old
ii. Nursery class
This class has 35 kids
iii. Junior primary (this is from Standard 1-4)
a. Standard 1 has got 20 children
b. Standard 2 has 16 children
c. Standard 3 has got 18 Kids
d. Standard 4 has 7 kids.
The number of children will be increasing as time goes. Classes start at 7:30am and knock off at 4:00 pm. This school helps parents in such a way that kids are taken care of for the whole day. Parents have ample time to go to work and come back home knowing their children are taken care of so they may work all day. Those parents who do not go for work are also able to do their things freely. Parents are so grateful to Mom's and Operation Save for their coordination.
i. The school has no plates
i. Lack of buckets
5. CHIKWETE PRIMARY
The headteacher of this school is Mr. Kachingala. This school has 768 learners and 18 teachers. The good news is that the school has some few bags of maize which they kept from last academic year. The school is ready for the feeding program and the headteacher assured us to start feeding the kids this week from the bags of maize they kept.
6. MTEZA PRIMARY SCHOOL
The Headteacher is Mr. Aloster Kamzati. The deputy headteacher is Mr. Chadza. Enrollment for this school is 790 and has 16 teachers. 48 surrounding chiefs supply firewood for cooking porridge at this school and teachers are thankful for that. The above mentioned chiefs also provide money for milling the maize as well as female cooks who rotate now and again.
i. No sugar and salt
ii. No buckets
iii. No plates
iv. No spoons
v. No Kitchen
The headteachers are thankful because Operation Save has remembered their schools once again. The porridge helps a lot in all the schools. Feeding program has encouraged school enrolment, pass rate, and attendance. Feeding program has indeed brought good relationships between parents and teachers as well as chiefs and teachers. Some kids have learnt how to eat food on their own than before. Thank you Operation Save that you have allowed us to solve some of the school challenges. Operation Save will provide sugar, salt, buckets, plates and spoons. We also plan to buy the above mentioned kitchen utensils for the schools that have such challenges and distribute them together with maize.