Mfuwe Secondary School looked totally different when we visited this September. There had been a lot of building work carried out since 2011 and this along with a dedicated head teacher has really transformed the school. The head teacher Mrs Chabala was so proud to show us around and was eager to get us up to date with all the facts and figures. There are currently 800 pupils (in 2011 there were 603!) of which 500 are boys. In 2006 there were only 2 classrooms and the school had to borrow classrooms from the neighbouring primary school. Now there are 11 classrooms of which one is a science lab. One of the triple classroom blocks was donated by parents thanks to the heads enthusiasm and the others funded by local charities and safari lodges. Incredibly the government have provided 28 specialist teachers, however there are only 4 teachers’ houses.
They now have 2 new dormitory blocks each sleeping 48 boys, they still sadly have to use the old dormitory too as the numbers of pupils and boarders has increased from 150 to 250 in the last 2 years. The number of girls boarding has also increased and their accommodation has also been hugely improved by other generous donors. In secondary education the number of girls drops off hugely as many have to stay and work at home, there are also high teenage pregnancy rates and many get married at a very young age.
There is a huge push to try and empower girls to go to secondary school in the area at the moment which is wonderful to see.
There has been an incredible amount of progress at this school over the last 2 years and it is wonderful to see, however there is still a long way to go. They still need 4 more classrooms and would love a school hall which could be used as a dining room during the rains, for sports, afterschool clubs and a number of other activities. There are only 4 teachers’ houses which is far from ideal especially as there are 250 boarders on site.
Elephants are a problem in the area and do to a great job of stopping boys and girls mixing after dark but having more staff living at the school would be a huge advantage to everyone. The school are also very keen to start Agricultural Science as one of their subjects. For this to be achieved they need funding for electric fencing and all the planting equipment and resources. Sausage Tree are particularly keen to see this happen and are currently actively fundraising for this project. The local community really need to gain a greater understanding of crop production and management. The balance between wildlife and humans is very fragile.