Empowering Marginalized Communities of Malawi with Centre for Youth and Development

Malawi has one of the highest poverty rates in the world; about 12 million Malawians live on less than $1.25 a day. These devastating circumstances leave many with food shortages, health concerns, and minimal access to education. Out of their population of nearly 16 million, only 65.8% will learn to read and write by the age of 15. 

Established in 2012, Malawi’s Centre for Youth and Development aims to empower marginalized persons, families, and communities with the best environment for sustainable development. CYD leverages the power of youth and technology to help children, youth and women living in deprivation to escape the cycle of poverty and fulfill their human potential. They collect used and refurbished computers with preloaded educational software and install them in schools. Schools pay a basic management fee for CYD’s technicians to help with troubleshooting and maintenance. They also train teachers on how to integrate the technology into their classrooms to expand their impact. 

Project: The Centre for Youth and Development will be collaborating with a team of volunteers to help increase their technology capacity by: 

  1. Developing an online Teacher Continuous Professional Development platform (Web based and mobile based). This builds on our existing “improving access to ICT Program to build the capacity of teachers to effectively use the computers provided to schools for teaching and learning. 95% of the teachers in our partner schools have access to smartphones that they can use to access the courses. Team4Tech Volunteers will conduct user research, and explore Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) options, design and develop the platform and provision of training to CYD.  
  2. Adding content to a digital education platform (Kolibri) – A Team4Tech volunteer team will work with the Centre for Youth and Development to identify good content to add to the digital education resource platform. Centre for Youth and Development staff conducted consultations with teachers to identify topics for junior primary school, learning objectives for the topics, and available recommended syllabus-based textbooks. These materials will be shared with Team4Tech’s volunteers to research and identify relevant content in interactive forms and will be added to the Kolibri digital educational platform. 
  3. Training teachers – The Team4Tech volunteers will provide basic digital literacy training for teachers on Kolibri, Microsoft Office, printing, internet search, internet safety, and email among other skills.
  4. Developing a PC and Mobile based interactive application for higher primary school (grades 5-8) to enhance teaching and learning process of literacy and numeracy. Team4Tech volunteers will conduct research on similar applications, research available literacy and numeracy content and add to the application and provision of training to CYD staff on management of the application. 

Impact: CYD’s plan is to scale up to 100 schools, training two teachers per school and reaching 60,000 students.