Just the facts...
Status: Complete

School: Wimbe Primary School

Country: Malawi

District: Kasungu

Village: Wimbe

Donor: Matching Donor

Partner: BuildOn

Year: 2011

Grades: 1-7

Students: 1457 Students

Wimbe School block completed on January 19, 2012!

The Wimbe School project began in October 2011 and was completed on January 19, 2012. The people of Wimbe contributed a total of 3,008 volunteer workdays to the project. Before starting construction they also gathered local materials (like sand and quarry stones) and molded and fired thousands of clay bricks used in the project.

Wimbe Community Profile

Wimbe is an area in the eastern part of Kasungu district in the central region of Malawi. Approximately 11,000 people live in this area, lead by 30 Village Headmen. The community belongs to the Chewa ethnic group, the largest ethnic group in Malawi.
The primary activities of the people in Wimbe are agriculture and small livestock keeping. Families practice subsistence farming, passing down their land from one generation to the next. The main crops in this part of the country are maize and tobacco. The climate is tropical, with a rainy and a dry season each year.

Old School Conditions

The primary school in Wimbe was established in 1950. This is the only school where the children from all 30 surrounding villages attend classes. Before buildOn’s first project in Wimbe there were 6 classrooms (3 blocks) already in existence, constructed by the community approximately 20 years ago. Because of overcrowding, grades 1-3 were taught outdoors under shade trees. During the hottest and rainiest times of the year many students missed class or were forced to stay home when classes were not offered at all.

Current School Enrollment

In the four school blocks that exist today, there are 1,457 students (819 girls and 638 boys) enrolled in primary school in Wimbe. They study with 13 teachers (8 women and 5 men) in grades 1 though 8. After standard 8, some students are selected to continue on to secondary school in other communities. There are also 97 adults (91 women and 6 men) enrolled in buildOn’s Community Education Program in Wimbe. The CEP began in the fall of 2010 and will continue for 2 years.

The Wimbe School Project - First School Block

Wimbe Trek Team
The Philadelphia Trek team in front of an old school block
The Philadelphia Trek for Knowledge team in front of an old school block and the partially built walls of the new school block
The first buildOn school block in Wimbe broke ground in March of last year, was completed on May 29th, 2010 and painted in June. The people of Wimbe contributed a total of 1,741 volunteer workdays to this project. For the first two weeks of the project they also hosted a group of high school students from Philadelphia who participated in a buildOn Trek for Knowledge. These students were chosen from 8 different high schools and earned the opportunity to participate in the Trek after doing extensive local community service. They lived with Wimbe host families, participated in a cultural exchange, and worked side by side with community members for 10 days on the worksite.
Trek team member laying bricks
Working on the foundtion
Digging the Latrine
Wimbe Kiln
Moving bricks from the kiln
Wimbe School
The first buildOn school block in Wimbe built in 2010
The inauguration ceremony
Wimbe students in a new classroom

The Wimbe School Project - Second School Block

This second school block is scheduled to break ground in October 2011. The community members have already gathered some quarry stones and molded over 200,000 bricks in preparation for the construction of the second buildOn school block in Wimbe. They are well on their way to gathering enough stones and sand to begin this project.

To date, with the support of Moving Windmills, buildOn has partnered with the people of Wimbe to complete one school block and begin preparing for a second school block. As with all buildOn projects, responsibilities are shared as outlined below:

Community Contribution
• Unskilled labor: 30 workers (15 women and 15 men) per day, six days per week
• Commitment to educating girls and boys equally
• The land on which the school is built
• High quality local materials: sand, gravel, water & rocks
• Volunteer management committee made up of 12 villagers (six women, six men)
• Lodging for buildOn Field Coordinator and skilled laborers in local homes
• Basic construction tools (picks, buckets, etc.) when available

buildOn Contribution
• Engineering and architecture
• 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