About Malawi

About Malawi

Malawi is a landlocked country, bordered by Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the north and northeast, and Mozambique to the east, south and southwest. Malawi spans over 118,484 km2 ( UK 243,000 km2 and has an estimated population of 19,5m. Malawi's capital is Lilongwe.

Malawi is one of the world's least-developed countries in the world and is consistently recorded as one of the poorest countries in terms of GDP (Gross Development Product) and the United Nations HDR ( Human Development Index).

The country has a stable multi-party political system. According to 2023 V-Dem Democracy indices Malawi is ranked the 63rd electoral democracy worldwide and 6th electoral democracy in Africa.
The country has limited natural resources and a historical dependency on agriculture. 70% of exports are agricultural products e.g. tobacco, rice, tea.

Malawi is renowned for its warm and friendly atmosphere created by the Malawian people. The country is known as 'The Warm Heart of Africa'.

Malawi is one of Africa's most loved travel destinations in Africa. The country is shaped by the southern end of the African Rift valley with Lake Malawi, Nyika Plateau and Liwonde Game reserve being favourite tourist destinations. The tourism industry has been severely impacted by poaching of wildlife and Covid.

However, over 85% of secondary school going age children (13-18) are still not accessing secondary education.

Communities in Malawi are beginning to understand the importance of education not only for boys but for girls as well. In 2012, a UNICEF Malawi Annual Report wrote, “One extra year of primary school boosts a girl’s future wage 10 to 20 percent and an extra year of secondary school increases that earning potential by 15 to 25 percent.”

We envision a world in which every child in Malawi can attend secondary school.

Our vision

We are working towards a Malawi where all children can benefit from a secondary education in buildings which are fit for purpose and with the resources and teachers they need to thrive.


Students now attending schools supported by MST

New teachers supported at two secondary schools

Education is valued - and often unaffordable

Primary schooling is free, but parents have to buy a uniform, which is a big ask when income is low (average earnings are £70-140 per year) and you are only ever sure of having work in the short term.

Secondary school is run by the government, but you have to pay around £40 per year, so it’s not really surprising that very few children stay on to senior school, and just a tiny fraction of them are girls.

It’s often difficult for a girl to go to school regularly. In addition to her domestic responsibilities, she’ll stay at home if she has her period. The menstrual cycle is taboo, and most women and girls don’t understand how their bodies work. In some rural areas, people believe that a girl or woman who has her period can be bewitched.

But we know that if a girl manages to overcome these challenges, she can achieve as much as any man.

The challenge

About 80% of children go to primary school. Children may have to walk many miles to school. They usually sit on the floor, and one teacher looks after up to 130 children.

Only 20% of children stay on to secondary school, where classes may be a little smaller (80 students). Some schools are fortunate enough to have simple wooden desks.

Books are scarce and writing materials very precious, so students will use every tiny space on the page.

Very few children go on to university, so most will live in the same way as their parents.

Schools must provide accommodation for every teacher they employ, so a school that offers good housing will attract better teachers. This is why providing teacher accommodation is such an important priority.

Thank you to our supporters

100% of all donations go directly to help our partners in Malawi
Malawi Schools Trust Registered Charity number 1182866
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