buildOn and Raising Malawi School Building Partnership

buildOn, a non-profit dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education, would like to clarify its role in Malawi based on recent news reports in the media. The reports raised questions about schools built by buildOn in partnership with Madonna and the non-profit organization Raising Malawi.

In January of 2012, buildOn partnered with Raising Malawi to build 10 two-classroom schools for rural villages of the Kasungu District of Malawi. These schools were funded by Raising Malawi. They were built in villages with no adequate school structure, and priority was given to villages with no school infrastructure at all. Prior to buildOn, children in these villages have attended classes either in a temporary structure or outside under a tree. As of December 2012, each of the new school structures had been fully completed.

Since 1993, buildOn has constructed a total of 72 two-classroom schools in Malawi, 70 of which were built in the region of Kasungu. Each school structure is constructed in partnership with the communities who will benefit from them. Community members have contributed 175,057 volunteer work days to construct these schools in Malawi. We are proud of our work in Malawi and of our highly productive relationship with the Kasungu District Education Manager’s Office, which partners in the selection of communities in need of infrastructure.

For each project, buildOn provides the construction materials, transportation, skilled labor, project management, and construction plans. Each partnering community provides a gender-balanced leadership team, volunteer labor, land, local building materials, and authorization from the government to have a school. Each community also agrees that boys and girls will attend schools in equal numbers. The District Education Manager’s Office in Kasungu has provided teachers for the schools who teach the Ministry’s approved curriculum.

Each two-classroom school is built with a corrugated metal roof and poured concrete floor, and accommodates approximately 100 children at any one time. Once completed the community and school leadership team manages the use of each structure.

In 2013, we plan to build 23 additional two-classroom schools in the Kasungu and Neno District of Malawi in partnership with each region’s District Education Manager’s office.