Minister of Education Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima has called upon various stakeholders and partners to consider pumping in more support in the education sector.
Wirima made these remarks on Tuesday during the launch of the Back to School Campaign at Kalima Primary School in Chikwawa district.
She said Cyclone Freddy caused huge damage to education infrastructure in the country.
According to Wirima, 72 Classrooms, 87 teachers houses and over 980 WASH facilities were fully destroyed, while 460 classrooms, 423 teachers houses, 542 WASH facilities were partially destroyed, requiring reconstruction and rehabilitation respectively.
“For instance, schools hosted Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result, there was too much pressure on the already constrained WASH facilities in schools,” adding that other services that were compromised included, but not least to child protection; and school feeding.
She said these, among others, are the barriers that prevent teachers and learners the right to deliver and receive education in a safe and conducive environment.
Wirima said: “We therefore need to work together to ensure that all learners are back to school.”
She added that in the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report of 2023, the total value of the effects (damages and losses) in the education sector is estimated at US$ 42,087,535.26.
In order to recover from these effects, she said, there is a need for more than US$80,296,573.91.
Wirima called upon for unity and solidarity in sharing the cost of recovery saying no single entity will be able to meet this need.
The minister therefore thanked UNICEF and the Norwegian Government for being a friend indeed, in time of need.
She said the education supplies received will make the lives of learners and teachers better.
“This is not the only support that the Ministry has received through UNICEF. The Ministry appreciates a number of interventions in the Education-in-Emergency, such as education Cluster technical support; Joint assessment and monitoring visits to cyclone affected schools; District capacity building in Disaster Risk Management among others.
Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Ingrid Mikelsen said her government is committed to supporting the education sector.
“The government of Norway is very ready to continue supporting the people of Malawi through the education sector. This is why we immediately took a step when a call to assist the education sector was made after being hit hard by the devastating Cyclone Freddy,” she said.
UNICEF through the Royal Norwegian Embassy has donated 45,000 school bags consisting of 5 notebooks, 2 pens, 2 pencils and a ruler.
UNICEF Malawi Deputy Representative responsible for Programmes, Gerrit Maritz, re-affirmed the agency’s commitment in supporting Malawi in various sectors including the education sector.
Paramount Chief Lundu said the handover of back to school campaign education supplies is timely and will go a long way towards helping learners affected by Cyclone Freddy.