African Library Project

Malawi partner600

ALP’s New Partner in Malawi Means More Success Stories

In 2004, Khalidwe Jera entered Mtengowambalame Primary School in Malawi. At that time, he could not read, write or speak English. “I liked playing all the time,” he reported. The school had no books nor means of getting them. Then in 2009 when the ALP library arrived, he had easy access to books. “I had to study, to write and speak English. It made me a hard worker. The library helped me boost up my mind.”

ALP is planning to provide that opportunity to even more Malawians by adding a new partner: Chancellor College Library, part of the University of Malawi. 

With 75 staff members, two of whom have previously worked with ALP, the department has the knowledge and experience to make the partnership a success. In addition, the library plans to include ALP activities in its 2017/18 budget and use its television and radio stations to create awareness in the surrounding communities. D.B. Vuwa Phiri, Chancellor College Librarian, explained that the library is partnering with ALP in order to further the University’s mission to create and share knowledge by engaging in teaching, research, consultancy, and outreach activities in response to the needs of Malawi and the region.

As Carolyn Gannon, ALP Board Member Emerita and liaison to Malawi, says, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every partner’s top university had a similar mission--plus resources and commitment--and wanted to join their country’s ALP partnership?”

“We’ve got a dream team in Malawi,” says Deborah Lustig, ALP Chair. In addition to Chancellor College Library, the team consists of Development Aid People to People (DAPP), which runs multiple teacher training colleges; Wungwero Book Foundation (WBF), a small non-profit; and Malawi Institute of Education (MIE), a parastatal organization.

Jera, quoted above, is one of three former ALP library users in Malawi who are now studying to be primary school teachers. They all attribute their success to the library.

Precious Maulan said that at first he had “no spirit of studying. It was the library that helped me develop a hard-working spirit as we were encouraged to read different books. I had access to academic books and other books, which helped me improve my vocabulary in English.”

Lyson Bonface is grateful that the library had the resources he needed in his education and when studying for exams. He said, “The stories from novels helped me understand English.”

All three men credit the librarian, Patrick Jafali of DAPP, ALP’s lead partner, for giving them encouragement and understanding. While in secondary school, all three returned to the library during holidays to use the books for their studies.

“These stories are really amazing!” says Carolyn. “We know that our partnership with the Chancellor College Library will mean even more success stories and changed lives in Malawi.”

February 2017