One of the 6 critical needs of human development that VIP seeks to address in Malawi is access to, and improvements in, education. In pursuit of this, since 2014 Villages in Partnership has sponsored and run an inter-school quiz competition in the villages of Malawi. The quiz competition is one of the ways that we not only work to provide students with more access to educational resources, but to make learning fun and interactive.
Last month VIP founder Liz Heinzel-Nelson attended the finals for the VIP school quiz competition. The competition included students from 17 schools in our catchment area, 11 primary and 6 secondary schools. Our staff works with an education committee comprised of teachers, parents and community leaders in order to sharpen the skills and knowledge of the students, teachers and schools. VIP then gives out prizes to the top students and schools. They are what we would consider simple prizes: paper, a soccer ball, notebooks, rulers, a battery operated clock to the top school, but they mean a great deal to the students! Teachers and students say that they have seen a dramatic difference in the scores of the children since this competition began. They tell us that there are many students who are being accepted into National Secondary Schools, the top schools in the nation, from our villages because we have instituted this competition. Students and teachers are always very motivated to prepare and compete.
For the closing ceremonies, right before the presentation of the prizes to the top students and schools, a young woman, Angelina Nambazo, who grew up in Teputepu Village in our catchment area, and is now a nurse, got up to speak. She was there to inspire the students and to show them how an education can transform your life. The children, especially all the girls in the audience, were glued to her!