• Nkuyu primary school

With permaculture and new classrooms against hunger and lack of education

The Nkuyu primary school is a perfect example. For a forgotten place in the country with many needs. With school buildings that have never really seen good times. With a committed community and great ideas about healthy self-sufficiency for children and parents based on permaculture.

However, there is a lack of financial means to implement urgently needed measures and to advance the innovative ideas. The good news: This has now come to an end.

  • Country:


  • Place:

    Northwest of Blantyre

  • Project duration:


  • Goals:

    New construction of three / renovation of the five existing classrooms, construction of sanitary facilities and teachers’ duplex, financing garden project according to the concept of permaculture.

Finally there is help for the committed community

A lot of green reveals itself to the arriving person, if one has successfully mastered the dusty and bumpy approach. The roads are difficult to pass in this remote area, near Malawi’s second largest city Blantyre. A few scattered buildings become visible between the bushes. It seems almost idyllic.

But appearances are deceptive. The currently lush nature is evidence of many rainfalls. The buildings reveal their true “face” as you approach: run-down, crumbling bricks, cracks in the walls and floors, no benches or tables in the classrooms.

Challenging task: school with difficult access, but great potential

The renovation of the Nkuyu primary school is a challenging but feasible and above all urgently needed project: 533 pupils are currently being taught by nine teachers in five very small and dilapidated classrooms. There is another “emergency classroom” built by the community on its own initiative. But the thatched “building” has not withstood the last rain.

Regular school operation is currently not feasible, not only because of the Covid-19 lockdown in the country. Eight rooms would be necessary to speak of a complete primary school.

The fabric of the existing buildings also leaves much to be desired: cracks run through the floors and walls, the roof leaks in many places. All children learn on the bare floor, there is not enough money for tables and chairs.

The accommodation for the teachers, which is so urgently needed in rural areas, is also not available in sufficient quantity, and the three existing houses seem very dilapidated. Sanitary facilities are also sought in vain.

Nkuyu primary classrooms

The five existing classrooms (on the left the “triple classroom block, on the right a part of the other two rooms) are very dilapidated.

This small community shows that rural schools are quickly forgotten. We have often made this experience in the past years. Due to the remote location far away from any infrastructure, the school has had little opportunity to draw attention to its needs. So it is difficult to convince aid organisations to get involved. Also, these communities are not very “attractive” for local politics, and there are rarely rapid construction successes when the framework conditions are more complicated.

Therefore we are grateful to have a contact to the Nkuyu primary school due to our good network and to be able to help. Two committed teachers approached us with this extensive and well-founded project proposal, which we were able to approve in good conscience after thorough examination.

Model project Permaculture: natural diversity against hunger

A special feature of this community: it has a small school garden. With our help the families of the children could enlarge it according to the principle of permaculture and additionally start a reforestation project.

“Together we grow”: The first plants of the permaculture garden are already in the ground.

We have been thinking about becoming active in this field for quite some time and now we see ourselves in Nkuyu on the way to a model project. With the two Malawian teachers responsible for this, we have found committed sparring partners who have already gained experience with the successful implementation of the “Together we grow” project at another school.

The concept of permaculture is based on the simple principle of growing crops permanently. To use the resources of nature sensibly. Fruit and vegetables are sown and harvested in an ingenious sequence. In the long term, this approach makes much more sense ecologically, economically and socially in countries such as Malawi, where in many places maize is mainly grown in monoculture.

Since severe droughts and floods in many districts of Malawi in recent years have destroyed large parts of the harvest, the families of the small farmers have always been starving. With permaculture, people in rural areas can cultivate better and more sustainably.

Using nature, sustainable cultivation

The focus is on the cultivation of local plants. Fields and gardens are treated so that the available resources are used optimally. For example, farmers can use wastewater for irrigation, use home-made compost as fertiliser and sow plants side by side that benefit from each other. In this way, a solid basic supply of healthy food is ensured in the long term.

Start of construction in spite of COVID-19 thanks to our committed comrades-in-arms on site

In Malawi, as in many other countries, life does not run as usual because of COVID-19. The – as mentioned at the beginning – difficult journey to the school community is a challenge for the craftsmen.

But thanks to our creative and reliable contractor Nick Gaunt and the committed community the construction work for the new buildings could already be started. The first banana trees have also been planted.

Although a large part of the costs for this project has already been covered, the help of donors is urgently needed to be able to implement all ideas here. In Malawi, too, the costs have risen dramatically as a result of the measures taken in the context of the Corona pandemic, and the rural situation makes the construction project even more expensive than usual.

Fleet progress: Our local construction company started work on time on July 1, 2020. Three weeks later, the first walls were erected.

We are therefore pleased about every support that helps this school to grow in the double sense of the word!

The bright green will soon be welcoming visitors not only because of rainfall, but also because a lush fruit and vegetable garden is growing here. And as soon as the schools in Malawi are finally able to open their doors again, bright children’s eyes will join them and they will also be happy about new classrooms. We hope that the school will soon be fully renovated so that all children in the area can finally have a roof over their heads and learn for their future.

Donation for the Nkuyu primary school

New classrooms and permaculture project

Here you can easily and safely transfer your desired amount for the Nkuyu primary school. Every Euro helps to renovate this rural school and to support the local people, especially the children, to arm themselves against hunger with their own school garden.

More information:

Your donation will benefit the primary school in Nkuyu. Any surplus funds will be used in those projects of the Christian Liebig Foundation e.V. where they are needed most urgently.