Planet Aid Supported Teacher Training College Opens in Malawi

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Built through a unique public-private partnership involving Planet Aid, the Malawi Government’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, DAPP Malawi, and the Government of Finland, the college will satisfy an urgent need for trained educators and bring Malawi closer to meeting the U.N. Millennial Development Goal of universal primary education.

The Planet Aid-supported Dowa Teacher Training College was officially inaugurated today in Matanda, Malawi. This college will train students to become qualified primary school teachers, helping to satisfy an urgent need for trained educators and bringing Malawi closer to meeting the U.N. Millennial Development Goal of universal primary education. In attendance at the ceremony was the Honorable Vice President of Malawi Khumbo Kachali, the U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Jeanine Jackson, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and high-ranking Malawi Government officials.

The college was built through a unique public-private partnership involving Planet Aid, the Malawi Government’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, DAPP Malawi, and the Government of Finland. The USDA was a prime supporter, donating 30,000 metric tons of wheat from 2009-2012 through the U.S. Food for Progress Program. The wheat was monetized and the proceeds were used to finance construction and operation. Kate Snipes, USDA Agricultural Counselor for Eastern Africa based in Kenya, said that the partnership has achieved impressive results since its inception in 2006.

The Government of Malawi recognizes that the teacher training colleges being established by Planet Aid and DAPP are models of educational development and thus signed a cooperative agreement to establish and operate a total of six such teacher-training colleges nationwide by 2017. These colleges will train 1,000 primary school teachers on an annual basis. The Dowa Teacher Training College is the third of the six, following others at Chilangoma and Amalika. A fourth college at Mzimba is well underway and is anticipated to open in early 2013.

“These three colleges stand as a testament to the strong cooperation and growing partnership between the United States and Malawi. It reflects our shared commitment to quality education and the promise of a bright and prosperous future.”
—U.S. Ambassador Jeanine Jackson

DAPP has graduated 863 primary school teachers at its colleges. Of this number, 60% are female teachers. The need for female teachers is especially vital, as they serve as important role models for young girls in the village. The Dowa Teacher Training College will add to this number, by boarding and training 256 students annually.

In addition to the national curriculum in teacher education, the Dowa Teacher Training College offers students additional studies in community development. Students thus learn to help initiate and lead local development initiatives, such as establishing school gardens; organizing HIV and AIDS mitigation campaigns; and providing technical and vocational classes in tailoring, woodworking and construction, and adult literacy classes.

Headquartered in Elkridge, Maryland, Planet Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inform, mobilize and inspire individuals and communities to work together to bring about worldwide environmental and social progress. Incorporated in 1997 under the laws of Massachusetts and recognized as a tax-exempt charity under IRS code 501(c)(3), Planet Aid is registered with the U.S. Agency for International Development as a private voluntary organization (PVO), and is a member of the Zimbabwe-based Humana People to People Federation, Interaction, and Aid for Africa. It has also earned the Guidestar Exchange Seal for its commitment to transparency. For more information on Planet Aid, visit http://www.planetaid.org.

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Tammy Sproule
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