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Improving literacy in primary schools

A focus for Hope4Malawi in 2024 is literacy competency in primary schools. Teaching children to read and write English keeps them engaged at school and changes their life opportunities.


Literacy competency is challenging in Malawi. Chichewa is the most widely spoken language, and English is a second language, but the phonemes (letter sounds) are very different. This makes it difficult for children to read and write English. 


Children start English when they are in Year 2. By Year 5, most teaching and learning is in English. Sadly, many children drop out and do not attain fluency in English. Even children who are good at other subjects leave school as they cannot access material because of the language barrier.


This is recognised nationally by the Ministry of Education. But, in rural schools, resources and teacher training have not been provided.

How Hope4Malawi is working to make a difference

Hope4Malawi plans to provide further phonics training for teachers in rural partner schools, teaching resources and assistance.


At Chipwepwete Primary, there are over 150 children in Year 2. Imagine the resources and level of teaching assistance needed to teach English in a class of that size.

During the school holidays, a two-week teacher training course was held, attended by seven teachers and four librarians. The group were trained in phonics and teaching techniques. They also received a day’s follow-up training and learned word games to assist them in the classroom. 


As one teacher said: “The training has been inspiring. It helped me to think of different ways of teaching. I have found my big class very overwhelming recently. Since the training, it has been easier to engage the children.”

Hope4Malawi is assisting in other ways, too, by creating learning games for use in the classroom and providing school teaching assistants.


When Hope4Malawi’s sponsored university students break from their studies, some also assist in the partner primary schools.


Chrissy, a sponsored student in year three at university, has recently been teaching reading skills to ten children from Year 2 at Chipwepwete Primary. The group meets in the library, which is having a positive impact on these children. It has also reduced the remaining class size and improved learning opportunities.


Can you help a child in Malawi?

Thanks to the kind support of our partners, sponsors, fundraisers and volunteers, Hope4Malawi's school building, resourcing projects and student sponsorships continue to provide life-changing opportunities for children growing up in rural Malawi.

For further information and ways to get involved, please contact.

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