This week ActionAid Malawi launched a 10 year initiative to put over 54,000 children in school thanks to a generous donation from the Roger Federer Foundation. This marks the start of a long-term programme between the two organizations.
Roger Federer says:
“As the father of two little girls, I observe every day how incredibly fast children learn if their environment is a stimulating one.
“It is a great privilege for me and my Foundation to help give children in Malawi the chance to reach their full potential.
“I am excited to work hand in hand with ActionAid Malawi to fulfil this challenging task and we welcome support.”
The ten year program, aimed at 3-5 year olds, will build 80 community based childcare centres in six districts across Malawi. Each centre will be equipped with classrooms, education supplies, play areas and will provide a nutritious meal to every child in attendance. The centres will also host community gardens that will grow vegetables such as maize, cassava and beans for the children and their communities. All centres will be supported by small business initiatives to help generate income for the day to day running of the centres.
In addition to childcare centres, the project will reach out to surrounding villages, to raise awareness of the importance of sending children, especially girls, to school. The centres will work closely with parents and local village leaders to ensure they are at the heart of the community. Typical to ActionAid’s ‘rights based approach’, a number of volunteers at the centres will be chosen by the local community.
In a country where nearly half of all children under five are chronically malnourished and over three million children under eight are out of school, the initiative could not have come soon enough.
ActionAid Malawi Country Director Martha Khonje says:
“Every day in Malawi ActionAid witnesses the devastating impacts of children missing out on school, from low literacy rates to early pregnancy.''
“This new project will not only ensure the best start in life for thousands of children, but will also act as a shining example for what early education can do.
“We are so grateful to Roger Federer and his foundation for helping us to scale up our work so significantly.”