In 2017 and 2018, CEM in collaboration with The University of Strathclyde and with support from The Scottish Government, worked in rural communities to assess sustainability of off-grid rural Solar (PV) systems installed in Malawi, under the Community Energy Development Programme(CEDP).

School authorities at Chiwizi Primary School in Ntchisi have been tracking the positive strides in education that they feel have come with CEDP systems at the institution. It has been reported that selection to national and district schools has been constantly increasing since 2014 -when the systems were installed.

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A teacher explaining the school trends since 2014

Considering student enrolment:

  • in the academic year of 2014-2015, the enrolment of students increased by 56%
  • in the academic year 2015-2016, enrolment had doubled by 112%

The rise in enrolment has been attributed to the availability of electricity at Chiwizi primary school as it offers the rare option of night studies to students.

Considering student achievements:

  • In the 2014-2015 academic year, the school produced a record high pass rate of 97.4% with 2 boys and 2 girls being selected to a National secondary school and the other students being selected to community day secondary schools
  • In the 2015-2016 academic year, the pass rate dropped slightly to 85%, still higher than the 7 years pre-installation

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The other positive to have come out of the CEDP systems is the improvement in teacher retention at the school. Most teachers are comfortable and happy to be posted at Chiwizi primary school despite being located in a rural area because they have access to electricity and the associated benefits.

“Teachers used to opt for other schools that are located in areas with electricity and as such we did not have good and well qualified teachers. The past two years have seen an improvement in student performance because our electricity is an attraction for the best teachers”

-Mr. Shaibu Chiutika, the school’s Head teacher

Commuity Energy Malawi actions to support sustainability 

With respect to the positive strides in education that have come along with the CEDP systems in Chiluzi Village, CEM officials were quick to encourage and support the system users to take good care of the systems. CEM officers are on hand for troubleshooting and are providing training to local people for minor fixes.

we hope that you will continue engaging the trained solar PV technicians to ensure that all systems are well taken care of and that minor faults are quickly rectified

-Memory Suwedi, CEM Development Officer for the Central Region

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A CEM trained Solar PV Technician Troubleshooting a system fault in a classroom block

What the community says…

The community members were thankful for continued support for their CEDP system. The community members are supportive of the system and want to try productive uses from electricity to ensure sustainability of  their systems.