Just the Facts....
Status: Complete

School: Nyemba Primary School

Country: Malawi

District: Kasungu

Village: Nyemba

Donor: The Spangberg Family

Partner: BuildOn

Year: 2011

Grades: Grades 1-8

Students: 500+

Why we work in Malawi:
● Malawi ranks #153 amongst 169 countries with data on the United Nations Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living.
● Malawi has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the world - 15% of adults ages 15-49 are infected - and a growing population of children orphaned by this disease.

Nyemba School Completed on June 3, 2011!

The Nyemba school project broke ground on April 16th, 2011 and was completed on June 3rd, 2011. During these weeks of construction the people of Nyemba contributed a total of 1,624 volunteer workdays to the project, finishing on schedule. Before starting construction they also collected local materials for the project, molded and fired thousands of clay bricks, and met with buildOn staff to sign the covenant.

The new school block in Nyemba has 2 classrooms with a corrugated tin roof and a poured concrete floor. Two latrines were also built near the school. Students will begin attending classes in this new school block in August after the school holiday is over. The Community Education Program for adults will begin in Nyemba in April of 2012.

For the first two weeks of the project the villagers worked side by side with a student Trek for Knowledge team from Chicago to dig the foundation and lay the first bricks of the school. buildOn staff in Malawi report that at the inauguration of the school the chief of Nyemba expressed his sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the project. In the past many people were unhappy with his leadership, citing the lack of a school as a sign that he was not moving the community forward. However, with the completion of this project the people of Nyemba were able to see that it was really a lack of funding for construction materials and not a lack of motivation that was holding the school back.

Our youth will become more productive and reliable citizens because more of them will have a chance of attaining education nearby. The school will reduce dropouts and absenteeism and many teachers will be willing to teach at this school, reducing understaffing.
Misheck Nyirenda, 4th grade teacher, age 40
I learned from this project that when leaders and the community are united on development activities, tough jobs become lighter and the area grows faster. Also the student Trek team worked so hard regardless of gender- which motivated both men and women to participate fully during the construction. The Trek team members from the US are indeed our role models and we will remember them always.
Senior Group Village Headman Nyemba

Nyemba Community Profile

Nyemba is part of Kasungu district, in the central region of Malawi, and was founded in the early 1800s. Approximately 3,500 people live in this area, led by Senior Group Village Headman Nyemba. Most of them are Chewa, the largest ethnic group in Malawi, and there are a variety of Christian religions practiced here. Nyemba is 48 km from the buildOn office in Kasungu.
Most of the 250 families in Nyemba’s villages rely on farming for their livelihood, growing maize, tobacco, groundnuts and cassava. A few run small-scale businesses in butchery or the sale of clothing or kitchen utensils. This is possible because of the proximity of Nyemba to the busy, paved Mchinji road and the relatively easy access that the villagers have to the city of Kasungu. Some families also fish in the nearby Lusa River. The climate is tropical, with a dry, windy season from August to November and a rainy season from December to April.
I hope to learn in a good classroom with desks for the first time, where classes will never be interrupted by bad weather, very soon. I hope that one day I’ll become a nurse.
Memory Charles, age 14, grade 6
Women pump water at the well near the school site

Prior School Conditions

Nyemba Primary School
There is only one permanent school block in Nyemba, forcing most pupils to learn under temporary shelters with no walls and only a grass thatched roof which offers little protection during the rainy season. There are currently 536 students (301 girls and 235 boys) from the surrounding villages of Nyemba enrolled in the school, which was established in 1998. This high enrollment has encouraged the members of the community to make every effort to develop the school. There are 6 teachers teaching grades 1-8.
Teachers and the Existing School Block
A Temporary Shelter for Grades 3 & 4

The Nyemba School Project - Second School Block

This project broke ground in April 2011 with the help of a student Trek team from Chicago. The new school block has 2 classrooms with a corrugated tin roof and a poured concrete floor. Two latrines were also built near the school. The entire project took approximately 12 weeks to complete. The people of Nyemba gathered all the local materials needed for the project and molded more than 50,000 clay bricks. The responsibilities of buildOn and the community to the project were discussed during several mass meetings over the prior to starting the project and were reviewed again during the covenant signing ceremony as outlined below:
Community Contribution
• Unskilled labor: 30 workers (15 men and 15 women) per day, six days per week
• The land on which the school is built
• High quality local materials: sand, gravel, water & rocks
• Project management: a committee made up of 12 villagers (six men, six women)
• Lodging for buildOn team: Field Coordinator and skilled laborers
• Basic construction tools (shovels, picks, wheelbarrows, buckets, etc.)
• Commitment to educating boys and girls equally

buildOn Contribution
• Architecture and Engineering
• Construction materials (excluding local materials) for school and latrine
• Skilled labor and plans needed to build the school
• Project management (buildOn coordinators)
• Instruction in basic construction techniques