Zambian Students Benefit from Construction of New Classrooms

Published: Nov 1, 2019 Reading time: 3 minutes
Zambian Students Benefit from Construction of New Classrooms
© Namukolo Mate

Not far from the mouth of the Zambezi River on the Barotse Floodplain in the Western Province of Zambia sits the Nang’umba Primary School, a rural school in the Kalabo district. Framed by the magnificent blue waterway, the region’s natural beauty easily refreshes the spirit. Unfortunately, the view from inside the school has not always been so bucolic. 

Nang’umba Primary started as a community school in 1995, and in 2004, was upgraded to a primary school to accommodate pupils from pre-school to Grade 9. But before this year, when a People in Need project helped the school to expand, conditions were less than ideal. “The school had 450 pupils, one temporary classroom and a few desks,” says Likonge Maurice, a teacher at the school. Then, PIN came to assist.

New classrooms and “VIP” toilets

Poor infrastructure posed the biggest challenges during the rainy season. “Some of the pupils sat on the wet ground,” recalls Maurice. But, thanks to PIN’s Let’s Build a School in Africa program, which is funded by private donors – including donations collected by students in the Czech Republic – conditions at Nang’umba Primary are slowly improving.

PIN’s support to the school, which began in 2018, has included construction of larger classrooms and two double ventilated improved pit (VIP) toilets, as well as improvements to the old classroom and its desks. The building and reconstruction project lasted from December 2018 to May 2019 and cost 327,700 Zambian kwacha (22,158 euros).

Czech students raising funds for Zambians

The completion of construction was followed by an official hand-over ceremony attended by representatives from the Ministry of Education, including Kalabo District Commissioner Frida Luhila, who was particularly moved by Czech students’ involvement in the project.

“It is commendable that the students in Czechia are the ones raising the funds to support students in Africa,” Luhila said. At the same event, Christine Ndopu, Project Manager of PIN Zambia, said that the primary motive of the project was to strengthen the region’s education sector for future generations. “It is important that education is given enough support, as the pupils are the future of tomorrow.”

Students at Nang’umba Primary are also pleased. “In the past if you came late, you would sit on the floor, but now we all have a chance to sit at a desk,” says 14-year-old Pumulo Inambao. “We used to come very early just so that we could sit by a desk. In most cases, we came an hour earlier than the normal time; only like this were we guaranteed a seat."

Zambia’s Western Province has the highest number of "temporal" classrooms – temporary structures that are made of mud, poles and iron roofing – with 149 (out of 518 nationwide). “The poor state of the schools in Western Province has led to a huge number of pupils failing to complete their primary and secondary education,” said Luhila. Given this record, PIN believes that the new infrastructure will enhance learning outcomes and contribute positively to regional and national development.

Author: Namukolo Mate, PIN Zambia Communication Officer

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