Malawi President Peter Mutharika, during his United Nations (UN) visit, has sealed a deal with United States of America based charity, Building Tomorrow (BT), to start building technical colleges in Malawi from February next year.
This comes at the back of a recent adoption of Malawi government’s initiative on the introduction of techincal colleges in all the country’s districts by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The deal was sealed during a meeting Mutharika held with BT officials in New York Thursday afternoon on the sidelines of activities that are part of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
Confirming the development, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister George Chaponda, who attended the meeting, told The Nation that the construction of the colleges will follow the visit of the BT founder and executive director George Srour to Malawi early next year.
“We have managed to successfully sell the vision of the President about the need for Malawi to have community colleges for skills development, especially among the youth. We are happy that they [BT] have been inspired by it and have agreed to support us,” said Chaponda.
He said the two parties will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) next month in October, which will spell out all the particulars of the deal.
“Those particulars will include the number of colleges to be constructed and the duration of the project,” said Chaponda.
The MoU signing, according to the minister, will be followed by a visit by Srour to Malawi in February to set the wheels of the project running.
“BT has also introduced another organisation which is interested to provide annual grants of $10 million (about K4 billion) for construction of water points in Malawi,” he said.
The minister declined to name the organisation, saying a public disclosure at this stage would endanger their discussions.
Introduction of technical colleges through out Malawi is one of the main programmes that President Mutharika wants to implement as a way of imparting technical and entrepreneurial skills to the youth.
Labour Minister Henry Mussa told The Nation last month that his ministry was currently conducting a study to identify areas where the colleges should be built.
“In areas where there are already private technical colleges, we are talking with the owners to see if we can go into a joint venture to eliminate the possibility of duplication and waste of resources,” said Mussa.
Addressing a thanks-giving political rally at Masintha in Lilongwe about a fortnight ago, Mutharika said his administration was looking at the possibility of having a technical college each in all the 193 constituencies in the country.
BT is an international social-profit organisation empowering young people to invest their resources, time and talents in providing access to education for their peers in sub-Saharan Africa.
It envisions a world where every child with a desire to learn has a safe, permanent and local place to do so.
When Srour first visited Uganda as a United Nations intern, he was struck by the lack of education infrastructure and how over-crowded and inefficient the existing schools were.
As such, through a campaign which he initiated, called Christmas in Kampala, students at the school raised almost $45 000 (about K18 million) to fund the construction of a primary academy in Kampala, Uganda.
In May 2006, the school, now known as Meeting Point Kampala, was completed and opened for enrolment.
After this campaign, Srour was awarded the inaugural Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose.
He has said that this is what allowed him to make building schools for children in sub-Saharan Africa a full-time job.
Srour created BT as a continuation of Christmas in Kampala.
There are currently 11 Building Tomorrow Academies in operation in Uganda and five under construction.
—Munthali is reporting from the UN in New York, US