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Sunday, January 29, 2023

    Malawi: UNICEF Makes School Reopening Move

    The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has donated learning materials to support the reopening of Sekeni Primary School in Chikwawa district, Malawi.

    UNICEF’s donation to the school included school bags, books and other writing materials.

    The school was severely impacted by the tropical Cyclone Ana that hit the country in January 2022, with textbooks and other learning items and facilities damaged.

    The UN noted that more than 200 schools have been affected by floods, leading to school closures in the East African country.

    Cyclone Ana came with heavy rainfall, causing floods and landslides, resulting in casualties and widespread damage in Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.

    ‘Today [UNICEF Malawi] Rep [Rudolf Schwenk] handed over assorted learning materials, blackboards [and] surgical masks to support the reopening of the school’, UNICEF tweeted.

    In recent years, Malawi has experienced a rise in the frequency, intensity and unpredictability of climate shocks, perpetuating a cycle of food and nutrition insecurity.

    In March 2019, heavy and persistent rains caused severe flooding in several districts, especially in the southern region of the country. This was quickly followed by Cyclone Idai, which submerged vast regions of southern Malawi, displacing 86,980 people.

    The impact of natural disasters on children and their education can be profound, with millions of children across the world missing out on school as a result of humanitarian emergencies.

    UNICEF’s donation is expected to go a long way to make learning easier in Sekeni Primary School, although more aid is needed, as Development Diaries gathered that some classes are still held under trees as the school struggles to recover fully.

    ‘The best place for children is to be in school, wonderful to see that Sekeni Primary School has reopened after being fully flooded for several days. Although some classes are still taking place under a tree. And remaining textbooks still have to dry in the sun’, UNICEF Representative in Malawi, Rudolf Schwenk, tweeted.

    In many developing countries, where education capacity and resources are already low, rebuilding of school infrastructure after a natural disaster is often considered a secondary priority. This results in children being educated in temporary learning centres for years after the disaster.

    Nearly 40 million children a year have their education interrupted by natural disasters such as earthquakes and disease outbreaks, a 2018 report by Their World revealed.

    Children who are out of school for a long time after a disaster are in danger of falling prey to child labour, early marriage, trafficking and other risks with many never returning to school.

    Photo source: UNICEF Malawi

    Chinonso Kenneth
    Chinonso Kennethhttps://www.impacthouse.ltd
    Chinonso Kenneth Onwurah is a solution-focused journalist, policy analyst and research writer in the thematic areas of good governance, environmental sustainability and gender equality. He holds a master's degree in Political Economy and Development Studies.

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