Skip to content
Created with Lunacy
The Sites

Malawi


national expansion across Malawi

We are playing a critical role in scaling the tablet program to serve 3.5mm children per year in all government-run primary schools

Under the BEFIT program, we are working with the Malawi Ministry of Education and partners onebillion and VSO, among others, to serve all students in Standards 1-4 across all 5,770 public primary schools in Malawi. The program uses existing government resources, is aligned with the national curriculum, and is embedded within school timetables. 

In-school sites in Lilongwe

We serve children at four government-run primary schools

We’re serving Standard 2 children at four schools where we previously conducted efficacy research to understand learning gains in literacy and numeracy due to use of the tablets over different lengths of time, ranging from 5 months to 2 years. 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.

Informal School and Out-of-school sites in Dzaleka

We serve children at multiple community-supported sites

We’re serving children at a community-supported school and a youth center that primarily serve children who do not have access to the one formal school in the camp. We previously conducted research at the community school to understand the efficacy of the software in English for children whose first language was not English. (English was the community’s preferred language of instruction.) Based on the positive results, we are now expanding the program at the school and at a youth center to reach more out-of-school children.

Home-based intervention in Lilongwe

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

We learned about the key drivers of and barriers to the use of the tablets in a home setting.

Created with Lunacy
Community-supported School

Serving 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 learning gains over those resulting from standard instruction when using a digital learning program in English?
  • Type of Study: Initial implementation study followed by randomized controlled trials
Created with Lunacy
Youth Center

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
Created with Lunacy
GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS (Unlocking Talent)

Serving 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
Created with Lunacy
MALAWI HOME-BASED INTERVENTION

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

  • Location: Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Curriculum and Language of Instruction: 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
The Faces of Malawi
State of Education in Malawi

Malawi’s 3.5 million young children are packed into just 5,770 primary schools.

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

Population: 18 million

Number of early grade children: 3.5 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%

Impact

Our 2-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) (conducted in 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. Imagine’s research has demonstrated additional important benefits including increased attendance in school, higher engagement in class, and greater confidence in learning and girls benefited at least as much as boys.

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

Our Malawi Site Partners

onebillion
Burkina Faso Ghana Liberia Malawi Sierra Leone Tanzania
Software
University of Malawi, Chancellor College
Malawi
Research
Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
Malawi
Implementation