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Education & Enrichment

Zambezi Sawmills School Renovation, Livingstone

By April 15, 2016 May 6th, 2019 No Comments
Zambezi Sawmills is currently one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged community schools that The Africa Impact Foundation works with in Livingstone. Zambezi Sawmills schools 560 children between the ages of 6 – 16. Situated within the Zambezi compound, the school is presently operating out of an unsecured site that is open to vandalism and theft.
The school is also overcrowded with approx. 560 students in nine classes over seven grades using five classroom. They therefore operate a ‘hot seating’ system, where some grades go to school in the morning and some in the afternoon, the classrooms are in use all day. As a community school, Zambezi Sawmills Community School is not eligible for government support either in terms of finance, or resources. In order to qualify for advancement to a government primary school the school must fill certain criteria; the enrolment levels (over 20 children per class) good infrastructure and ownership of land being some of them.

As the school is in such an open area, vandalism and theft are common and the classroom windows are broken meaning the noise from outside is very disruptive for the teachers and students. The community also use the site as a socialising spot in the evenings and there is often broken glass and litter all over the grounds making it a hazard for the children (they often go barefoot to play sports). Due to the overcrowding, the school had to turn away over 100 children this year who wanted to enrol.

We have completed the building of a security wall fence around the school to finally make the area secure. We are busy building new classrooms for the extra space.  Once this has been achieved we will be building a teacher’s house.

Short Term Impact:
Building additional classrooms and enabling the school to accept more children an additional grades, giving them a chance at an education. A security wall will prevent vandalism and the inappropriate use of the school grounds in the evenings and on weekends by members of the surrounding community, as well as making the school a much safer environment for children to learn and play in. A teacher’s house will allow the school to support a member of staff and will also mean that the school can be guarded around the clock by.

Long Term Impact:
By making these alterations to the school, it is our dream that not only will the school be able to maintain its own social enterprises but will in the future achieve Primary School status and receive the accompanying government support.

The African Impact Foundation works with several different communities – known locally as compounds – throughout Livingstone, including Linda, Dambwa, Libuyu and Mwandi to name only a few. The total population of Livingstone is an estimated 136,897 (Census 2010) – however, figures are difficult to accurately measure given the transient nature of the town and the location of surrounding settlements.  Livingstone is a tourist town and a border town (borders Zimbabwe) set to the backdrop of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Zambezi Sawmills Community School in Livingstone, Zambia is identified as a “Community School”, resulting in the government not providing any funding, resources or support. Due to very limited space and such a large community population, ‘hot-seating’ occurs, limiting the students to attending school for half a day with over-populated classrooms, limited desks and a lack of resources.  In 2014, we identified Zambezi Sawmills as a partner to help grow their school population, create spaces so the teacher to student ratio could be reduced (from 1 teacher to 70 students) and provide support, with the aim to increase their student exam pass rate. Since 2015, we have built one classroom block, a vegetable garden, a security wall for safety, installed a water tower and tank which the community also accesses, and built an outdoor classroom.

  • 2017: A collective group of volunteers, staff, principals, teachers and the surrounding community identified the need for another classroom block as the Head Teacher was turning down 2-3 new students per day due to the lack of space.
  • 2018: we secured all of the funds to enable the building of a classroom block containing two rooms, which will educate 120 students daily, as well as a teachers’ lounge, which will host the 16 dedicated teachers who teach over 600 students per day. The teacher, student ratio has now significantly decreased with the ratio reading around 1 teacher to 40 students.  Additionally, over 220 textbooks were donated which the school made use of very quickly.
  • 2019: This classroom block with teachers’ lounge will be completed as well as a new library. At the end of 2018 it was confirmed by the Head Teacher that exam rates had been showing a good increase over 2 years and are showing a 30% increase in Grade 7 exams.