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Imagine Worldwide
The Sites

Malawi


Our Current Work

National expansion across Malawi

Under the BEFIT program, we are working with the Malawi Ministry of Education and partners onebillion and VSO, among others, to eventually serve 3.8 million children per year in Standards 1-4 across all 6,000 public primary schools in Malawi. The BEFIT program began rolling out in September 2023 and will serve 500 schools in Year 1 across districts in Malawi.

We also continue to serve children at a community-supported school and a youth center in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

Lilongwe, Malawi

Lilongwe
We serve children at four government-run primary schools

Implementation Partner: VSO

Current Students: 102,005

Current Schools: 179

 

Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Camp, Dowa, Malawi

Dzaleka Refugee Camp
We serve children at multiple community-supported sites in the camp

Implementation Partners:
Integrity Family Church, Salama Africa

Current Students: 2,000

Mulanje District, Malawi

Mulanje District
We serve children at government-run primary schools through the BEFIT program

Implementation Partner: Creative Center for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM)

Current Schools: 54

Current Students: 45,741

Mzimba District, Malawi

Mzimba District
We serve children at government-run primary schools through the BEFIT program

Implementation Partner: Ulalo

Current Schools: 99

Current Students: 31,147

Nsanje District, Malawi

Southern Region Districts
We serve children at government-run primary schools in Chikwawa, Mwanza, Neno, and Nsanje through the BEFIT program

Implementation Partner: Rays of Hope

Current Schools: 57

Current Students: 35,792

Nkhotakota, Malawi

Northern Region Districts
We serve children at government-run primary schools in Nkhata Bay and Nkhotakota through the BEFIT program

Implementation Partner: OSSEDI

Current Schools: 56

Current Students: 25,001

Chitipa, Malawi

Northern Region Districts
We serve children at government-run primary schools in Chitipa and Rumphi, through the BEFIT program

Implementation Partner: YONECO

Current Schools: 55

Current Students: 13,146

Malawi Impact At a Glance

Children Served

399,851

Program Sites

503

Tablets Distributed

73,000

Hours on Tablet

2,450,251

Early Pilots and Evidence-Building in Malawi

We have conducted several efficacy research studies to understand learning gains in literacy and numeracy due to use of the tablets over different lengths of time, and in different contexts. This research contributed to the Malawi government’s decision to scale the program countrywide. We are grateful to these communities for collaborating with us on the previous research.

Community-supported school

We served 5-8 year-olds in an informal school

  • Location: Dzaleka Refugee Camp
  • Curriculum and Language of Instruction: Math and Literacy (in English)
  • Research Focus: Can young children whose first language is not English achieve significant math gains over those resulting from standard instruction when using a digital learning program in English?
  • Type of Study: Initial implementation study followed by a proof-of-concept randomized controlled trial
Youth Center

We served 6-12 year-olds in a youth center

  • Location: Dzaleka Refugee Camp
  • Curriculum and Language of Instruction: Math and Literacy (in English)
  • Research Focus: How well did out-of-school children whose first language was not English respond to the tablet program in English?
  • Type of Study: Short term implementation studies
GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS (Unlocking Talent)

We served second graders in public schools

  • Location:  Four Government Primary Schools, Lilongwe
  • Curriculum and Language of Instruction: Math and Literacy (in Chichewa)
  • Research Focus: How much do children gain in critical literacy and math skills after using the tablet-based learning curriculum for different lengths of time (5 months to 2 school years)?
  • Type of Study: Randomized controlled trials over 5 months, 1 year, and 2 years
MALAWI HOME-BASED INTERVENTION

We served 700 low-income households with primary-age children during school closures due to COVID-19

  • Location: Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Curriculum and Language of Instruction: Math and Literacy (in Chichewa)
  • Research Focus: To understand parent and child experiences of the program and key drivers of and barriers to use of the tablets in a home setting.
  • Type of Study: Rapid-cycle research involving repeated phone interviews
Research Results

Imagine’s research has demonstrated additional important benefits including increased attendance in school

Our 2-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) (conducted 2019-2021) in Malawi demonstrated approximately 4.2 months of additional learning in literacy and 3.6 months of additional learning in math (added values of 32% and 28% respectively) after 13 months of tablet use and despite COVID-related school closures. Higher engagement in class, and greater confidence in learning and girls benefited at least as much as boys in contrast to standard classroom practice.

This model has already been successfully implemented in over 250 schools across Malawi since 2014, serving 225,000 children via the Unlocking Talent program.

Download Brief

State of Education in Malawi

Malawi’s 3.8 million young children are schooled in just 6,000 primary schools.

Since the introduction of free primary education in 1994, Malawi’s education system has struggled with overcrowding in classrooms, a lack of learning materials, a shortage of trained teachers, and high student-to-teacher ratios.

Population: 18 million

Number of early-grade children: 3.8 million

Official student-to-teacher ratio: 70:1

Primary school completion rate: 79%

Minimum reading proficiency achieved by the end of primary: 24%

Official literacy rate: 62%

Malawi Partners
Creative Centre for Community Mobilisation
Malawi
Implementation
Holistic Focus for the Marginalized
Malawi
Implementation
onebillion
Burkina Faso Ghana Liberia Malawi Senegal Sierra Leone Tanzania
Software
Rays of Hope
Malawi
Implementation
Salama Africa
Malawi
Implementation
Ulalo
Malawi
Implementation
Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
Malawi
Implementation
Youth Net and Counseling
Malawi
Implementation