The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported Malawi’s education sector since independence in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST). Building on this strong partnership, USAID remains committed to working with the Ministry, development partners and civil society to address the educational challenges facing the country today.
In Malawi, 90% of Standard 2 students cannot read a single word, Standard 4 students can only read 11 words a minute and 67% of standard 6 students are still at the pre-literate level. Malawi’s educational performance has continually ranked at the bottom within the Southern African Region.
USAID is enhancing the quality of primary education through targeted early grade reading interventions. Activities strengthen teaching methodologies and develop appropriate learning material to help students build a stronger foundation for learning.
USAID has developed an Early Grade Reading Approach titled Maziko a Kuwerenga (Foundations of Literacy) that has built the capacity of over 44,000 school teachers and administrators in reading methodologies, and provided phonics-based complementary readers to over 200,000 Standard 1 learners to provide a core instructional program for Malawian students. USAID has also developed and is piloting a new Timawerenga! (We can Read) phonetic digest that provides short, simple decodable texts in local languages that communities and parents transcribe into low cost readers for students. This will reduce the cost to approximately four cents a book. To complement these efforts USAID is also implementing Tiwerenge Ndi Ana Athu (TiaNA) (Let us read with our children). This program will accelerate children’s reading through cost effective, community-driven, extracurricular reading activities using low cost materials in after school programs and reading camps. Non-literate parents are being trained on simple activities they can do at home to improve children’s language and vocabulary skills.
In 2012, USAID interventions increased student reading skills by 14% in letter sound identification, and 42% in familiar word reading. This contributed to an increase of 36% in reading fluency and a 43% increase in reading comprehension.
Reading creates the foundation for lifelong learning and social and economic development for Malawi.
Funding (FY 2012)
$10 million (Basic Education)
Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Creative Associates International, Research Triangle Institute, Seward Inc., FHI 360, Save the Children, Higher Education for Development
Christine Djondo, Chief
Office of Education
Last updated: October 04, 2013