ECAM initiates Adopt-A-School Program

The Employers’ Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has introduced the Adopt-A-School Program (AASP) which will provide and sustain long-lasting relationships between schools and companies.

Speaking during a conference in Lilongwe on Tuesday, ECAM Programs Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Magomero said this program comes under the ARISE ll Child Labour Project and aims at making a difference in the lives of students by addressing poor learning environments.

AASP is about partnerships between local communities, businesses and organizations mainly focusing on finding ways for local communities to support schools and benefit students and teachers. This program will address challenges such as inadequate physical infrastructure, inadequate teaching and learning materials, poor access for children with special needs and poor retention of girls. These challenges are most of the times faced by schools in rural areas and that is why the target for this program is rural public Primary and Secondary schools explained Magomero.

Furthermore, Magomero explained that when a company adopts a school to address its needs, the benefits will extend to all parties. The company will gain recognition and receive positive public relations as it positively influences the lives of students. On the other hand, the school will benefit various external resources that will lead to improved learning environment and staff welfare.

In his remarks, Mr. Charles Nangwale, National Program Coordinator for ILO said poor infrastructure, lack of adequate teacher houses, teaching and learning materials are some of the many factors that contribute to both high repetition and dropout rates. Children who drop out of school eventually end up being engaged in child labour as they strive to make a living. Nangwale emphasized that education is a human right and a key factor in reducing poverty and child labour. Malawi can deal with the child labour problem by enlarging access to quality education.

Furthermore, Mr. Bright Kamanga of Metropolitan Health expressed his concern on lack of willingness by companies in helping local schools. He called upon all companies and organisations in the country to learn to give back to the community.

AASP is one of the programs that can give companies a platform to give back to the community and help in building future leaders. We should not always wait for the government; we should do something for the nation, for the future leaders and for the development of the country, said Kamanga.

ECAM in collaboration with ILO is strongly calling for proactive involvement of the private/non-governmental organisations in the program by adopting schools and sustaining the relationship.

The model of this program seeks to complement Malawi Government’s effort in attaining Millennium Development Goal 2 which is to achieve universal primary education.

Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA