Our Journey with Masuwe Primary School in the Woodlands Community, Zimbabwe

Our Journey with Masuwe Primary School in the Woodlands Community, Zimbabwe

Education is the cornerstone of sustainable development, pivotal in eradicating poverty, fostering equality, and building peaceful communities. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 underscores the universal right to quality education and lifelong learning – a mission that lies at the heart of our endeavours in Woodlands, Zimbabwe.

The Woodlands Community, formerly a hunting concession under the Hwange Rural District Council in Matabeleland North province in Zimbabwe, houses 4 villages with a total 118 households and an estimated population of 1200 people. They were resettled on 12,600ha of land, mostly wilderness area, surrounded by Fuller Forest, Zambezi National Park and Stanley and Livingstone Boutique Hotel on the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve – all in the world-renowned Victoria Falls.

There is one small school in Woodlands, Masuwe Primary School, introduced to us by Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel in 2017. At that time it had 170 students – including an Early Childhood Development class – and six teachers (two of whom were volunteers). Some teachers slept inside the classroom storeroom due to inadequate staff accommodation.

We immediately recognised their dire need for support and started a number of development programs to support the school and the community at large through community-led initiatives.

Our success thus far:

  • The building of teachers’ accommodation, which was commissioned and completed in November 2022. This gave the teachers a comfortable living space.
  • New ablution blocks for the children. The original ablution blocks were dark, unsafe, dilapidated and inadequate for the children. Twelve new flush toilets and wash basins with running water were installed.
  • We installed a Jojo tank (in collaboration with the Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel) to provide a water supply not only to the school’s new ablution block but other areas in the school, since they also share their water with the neighbouring village.
  • We upgraded the Masuwe fowl run and supplied 100 chicks, feed and medicines. The aim is to boost the school’s revenue with this income-generating project as an extra resource for the school’s needs.
  • We replaced damaged roofing sheets and windows at the school (thanks go to the Nakavango Conservation Programme volunteers for their incredible dedication).
  • The District Health Promotion Officer in Victoria Falls participated in an impactful sanitary workshop with 45 girls between grades 4 and 7, many of whom miss school during their menstrual cycles due to a lack of sanitary products. We gave each of the girls a reusable sanitary pack, which will last them three years and ensure that they do not miss out on their education. In the theme of health and hygiene, we also gifted each pupil and teacher with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • The Nakavango Conservation Programme volunteers distributed 80 solar lights to learners between Grades 3 and 7 to help them to do their homework and to study at home.
  • We are in the process of protecting the school’s veggie garden – an essential source of nutrition for learners – by digging a perimeter trench to keep the elephants away.

In the pipeline:

Our next project at the primary school is the construction of three new classrooms to accommodate the growing number of learners, and to separate the different classes. But this is not the only reason that this project is critically important.

There is currently no secondary school in the Woodlands community, which means that many students drop out of school after completing their primary education due to lack of access to transportation and accommodation in other villages. Communications have begun with the Ministry of Education and the Hwange Rural District Council and other stakeholders for permission to build and develop a secondary school in the area but must first have the aforementioned three classrooms in place to comply with their mandated basic standard for the school.

In aligning with the vision of SDG 4, our commitment remains unwavering to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for the children of Woodlands and its surrounding communities. Every child we empower is a step closer to a world where knowledge breaks barriers, where dreams aren’t limited by circumstance, and where every young soul is granted the foundation to build, innovate, and lead.

We are so grateful to every individual and organisation who has supported us on this journey. We now extend a heartfelt plea for support to raise the funds for the three additional classrooms required so that we can get one step closer to helping countless children to get the secondary education they so desperately need.

Can you help?

Head on over to our secure online donation platform on morecommunityfoundation.org/donations to pledge your support. Every single cent matters!  

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