Chiwawatala School

Page Updated: 18 Nov 2019

Kids at Chiwawatala

In 2003 Chiwawatala School only had 4 teachers teaching 600 pupils in 7 grades. Classes had to be held on a rotational basis. In 2006, with Sausage Tree’s help the ratio was reduced to 1 teacher per 38 pupils. Over the years, the school has grown significantly and is now teaching pupils in grades 8 and 9. There are currently 1067 pupils being taught in 10 classrooms by 16 teachers (3 of whose salaries are paid by Sausage Tree). However, the ratio is on the up again and is currently 66 pupils to 1 teacher. Since January 2019 Sausage Tree are paying for a third teacher had we not the ratio would have been 71:1. This teacher, Matilda, is very special to us; we have known her for many years. She initially worked as an untrained teacher at Chilongozi School where we paid her salary. We then sponsored her through teacher training college and now she is trained and working at Chiwawatala. More teachers are desperately needed.

Renovated classroom block in 2015

Renovated classroom block in 2015

The school teaches on a rotational basis due to its high numbers and lack of classrooms and teachers. So, half the school come in mornings (7am – midday) and the other half afternoons (1pm 5pm). All 1000 pupils get a meal of Sampo each day which is funded by the Luangwa Conservation and Community Fund (LCCF). This is basically refined maize meal with oli, sugar and salt added to it. Without this some of the pupils would not be guaranteed a regular meal each day. In 2018 we rebuilt the original kitchen as it had wholes in the roof which made cooking in the rainy season very tricky.

We have visited the school twice in the last 6 years. In September 2013 we met the new head teacher Mrs Misozi Phiri. It was their first day of term and it was fantastic to see a well resourced school (by African standards) running efficiently and our termly resources were all in the library ready to be distributed.

We went back in July 2018 to find it still thriving but with the added excitement of an amazing vegetable garden. Abu Daka (the deputy) showed us around and we met Jackson who manages the garden, Sausage Tree pay his salary. This is a key element to helping the school have a more sustainable outlook. The vegetables they provide our sold to one of the safari lodges and then the funds are fed back into the school. IT also teaches the children valuable life skills.

There is also a yearly tree planting competition as firewood is becoming a huge problem. Many people are now having to travel great distances to get it as there is none left close to the villages, this can be a very dangerous job as the areas they tend to go to support a large elephant population.

Work that we have helped fund includes:

  • Building a grain store so that the children can now be given meals provided by the World Food Organisation.
  • One double classroom re-roofed, made secure for the rains. New beams, struts and iron sheeting replaced.
  • New pit latrines built.
  • Classrooms whitewashed (needs to be done regularly).
  • New doors put on all classrooms to make them secure.
  • The building and stocking of a fish pond.
  • In September 2006 the government decided that it would send four teachers to the school. However, with no accommodation the teachers would ask to be relocated. Sausage Tree built one house which was then handed over to the government to house one of its teachers.
  • Funding the school’s vegetable garden and tree plantation.
  • Tree planting scheme.
  • Providing stationary, educational resources and books.
  • In 2008 Sausage Tree supplied £3,200 worth of new test books.
  • During 2014 we funded the refurbishment of a teacher’s house.
  • In 2015 we paid for the renovation of a classroom block that was damaged in heavy rain and wind.
  • In November 2018 we rebuilt the school kitchen which was falling down and had big holes in its roof.

Future Projects

  • Continue to pay 3 teachers salaries and resource the school on a termly basis with books, writing equipment etc.
  • More reading and writing resources.
  • Providing sports equipment.