One of the country’s tobacco buying companies, Alliance One Tobacco Malawi, has renovated Mtanila Primary School in Dowa District at the cost of K112 million.
Speaking during a handover ceremony held at the school’s campus on Saturday, Alliance One Tobacco Malawi Social Services Coordinator, Godfrey Chimenya, said his company decided to renovate the school as one way of fulfilling its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme in the country.
He said, by renovating the school, which is in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chakhaza’s area, the company has fulfilled its CSR primary goal of “uplifting people’s living standards”.
“We thought it wise to spend such a huge amount of money on renovating the school, which serves a lot of children here, at Madisi Trading Centre, after realising that it is based in an area where the majority of people grow tobacco, a crop we buy annually in the country.
“As part of our CSR programme, we thought it wise to renovate all the eight classroom blocks at this school because they were not conducive to learning as they were in dilapidated state. In addition to that, we have also constructed a teachers’ office block, a laboratory room, a library, toilets and donated some 320 desks to ensure that pupils are learning in a good environment,” Chimenya said.
Chimenya said his company has been supporting government’s efforts in improving the standards of education in the country through construction of school blocks, renovations of dilapidated classroom blocks as well as donations of school desks, among other things.
He then urged the school’s management and pupils to take proper care of the renovated classroom blocks.
The Alliance One Social Services Coordinator also advised parents and guardians in the area to avoid using children in tobacco fields as a source of labour, imploring them to send children to school.
He further explained that Alliance One Tobacco always advocates for good labour practices among tobacco growers in all the countries where it is operating, one of which being the restriction imposed on use of children in any tobacco related work.
In his remarks, Dowa District Primary School Desk Officer, Joseph Chafukira, commended Alliance One Tobacco Malawi for renovating the school which was first built in 1957 and was never renovated until this year.
“Let me commend Alliance One Tobacco Company for renovating and constructing some more classroom blocks here at Mtanila Primary School which, in one way or the other, has facilitated an increase in enrolment figures as more pupils are learning at this school,” he said.
Apart from renovating the school, the company has also bought office desks for all the teachers at the school.
Head Teacher Francis Kaliati said the school has an overall enrolment of 1,987, of which 802 are boys and the rest are girls.
Apart from Mtanila Primary School, Alliance One Tobacco has renovated classroom blocks in other Central Region primary schools such as Kambokambo, M’bindo and Nambuma.