Since June 2012, we have sent out a total of 35 staff to work in schools and nurseries (Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDCs) to work alongside Malawian teachers and caregivers improving learning and teaching.
Our MLOLs come from a range of backgrounds: primary headteachers, quality improvement officers, primary teachers, secondary teachers, active schools coordinators, nursery heads and child development officers.
They have worked in nine primary schools and two secondary schools in Blantyre Urban and Rural districts. In the primary schools, school rolls are increasing due to a combination of Mary’s Meals providing meals, developments in the infrastructure in some schools and the improvement in learning and teaching.
Encouragingly, since MLOL has been working with the schools there is evidence that there is an increase recently in the numbers of children going onto secondary education from Chitsime Primary School and Namwiyo Primary School.
The nursery heads and child development officers worked in ECDCs run by Mary’s Meals.
The schools are chosen by South West Education Department (SWED) in partnership with Malawian District Education Managers (DEMs).
In June each year we open up the application process to all Glasgow schools and education officials to apply to be part of the following year’s MLOL cohort to Malawi – usually in September/October.
MYLOL is the young leader element of Malawi Leaders of Learning and has developed considerably over the last couple of years.
In 2014/15, we had 'two' MYLOL groups operating consecutively.
The first MYLOL group, Springburn - 2 leaders and seven young people - emerged, as a follow up from the school’s previous MYLOL activities in 2014.
In June 2014, we established a second MYLOL group. Selecting 20 young people from two further Glasgow schools – Eastbank Academy and St Mungo’s Academy for the second MYLOL team.
Over a period of 18 months the MYLOLs met regularly and embarked on a training programme which focussed on building an array of skills including leadership and communication through the medium of sport and games.
They worked in their own schools and local areas and have raised their profile in their communities by engaging in activities such as canvassing residents and shopkeepers to identify areas for improvement for their own communities.
The MYLOLs raised funds to enable them to travel to Malawi in various ways. A number of the group successfully applied for funding from the McConnell Foundation and Lord McConnell presented the cheques to them in person.
They were a crucial part of the success of the Zikomo Ball in February 2015 which raised a substantial sum for both MLOL and MYLOL.
As a group, they have raised the profile of the MYLOL programme by attending and presenting events such as Education Scotland’s Launch of the International Learners’ Website, Conference on Equality and Diversity, as well as appearing on STV Glasgow.
When they visited Malawi in September 2015 they focused on “leadership development”.