By Franklin Mtambalika
The Centre For Education Development has announced plans to extend its Tiwerenge project to all the country’s 28 districts by June next year.
CFED Co-founder Albert Sharra revealed this on Wednesday when he alongside other donors in the initiative toured Bwaila Secondary School in Lilongwe to appreciate how students are faring.
Tiwerenge project is a name driven from a vernacular term for “let’s read” and aims to promote the reading culture in both primary and secondary schools through the use of local newspapers.
Centre for Education Development introduced the Tiwerenge project in 2015 after noticing a gap in knowledge uptake in primary and secondary schools.
Sharra said, "The idea was hatched based on my personal experience during school days when I could travel several kilometers to get to a library."
Sharra also says that little did he know that his interest in reading would help him better understand other subjects other than English.
"From this passion, I came up with an idea of buying and distributing one of the local newspapers to some selected schools," said Sharra.
For instance at Bwaila Secondary School in Lilongwe, students have praised the initiative for improving their reading skills.
Dennis Matekenya, an English teacher and a Patron for the Tiwerenge initiative at Bwaila Secondary school says he is happy that "the interventions have started bearing fruits" among the school’s 834 students.
Meanwhile, a renowned human rights activist Undule Mwakasunga who is sponsoring 3 schools under the project has hailed the initiative saying it will help restore a reading culture among learners.
Speaking during the tour, Mwakasungula, said, "It is a sad development to note the country’s education standards keep on going down due to poor reading culture."
Mwakasungula said time has therefore come for different stakeholders to help government in reviving the reading culture in all schools, emphasizing that knowledge is power and has potential of helping in national development.
With support from such meaningful Malawians the project is now supplying Newspapers to 38 schools from 19 districts.
Meanwhile, Sharra says moving forward the organization intends to empower beneficiary schools to start setting aside a budget of MWK42, 000 to go towards buying newspapers for the whole year.
He said this is a sustainable way of ensuring that the initiative is taken to greater heights with plans underway to extend the project to remaining nine districts by June next year, targeting selected schools due to limited capacity