Schools for Africa
UNICEF Malawi is committed to a vision of education as a lifelong process, optimizing investment through laying firm foundations at each stage on which future investments can build. Since 2005, UNICEF has improved the learning conditions of 450,000 children in Malawi through child friendly classroom environments, improving sanitation conditions, constructing new classroom blocks, providing clean water and supplying various materials and equipment, including desks. UNICEF has supported a national integrated functional literacy and life skills curriculum for vulnerable out-of-school girls; the provision of bursaries for vulnerable girls to attend secondary school; and increased access to livelihood opportunities and the development of model multipurpose youth centres for accessing key services and skills-based training. As part of the Schools for Africa initiative since 2005, Malawi has recorded significant achievements, which include approval of a new early childhood development (ECD) policy with over US$865,000 allocated in the 2017–2018 fiscal year, doubling the previous year’s budget. In addition, UNICEF has pioneered a systematic in-service training through the Continuous Professional Development Framework for Malawi’s 70,000 primary and secondary school teachers. Of the 261 target schools which were part of a performance-based financing pilot, 54 per cent achieved core National Education Standards, compared to 2 per cent in the previous year.