The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is collaborating with the North American Division (NAD) Office of Education to offer educational development assistance at schools in Southern Africa. Recently, ADRA accompanied ten NAD education leaders to evaluate and assess the needs of schools in Malawi.
“ADRA wants to ensure that every child has the best opportunities available to thrive and succeed,” says Matthew Siliga, vice president for marketing and development at ADRA. “Nothing compares to the importance of providing access to quality education so that children—and their families—can break free from poverty during their lifetime.”
Siliga adds that in order to accomplish this, ADRA wants to utilize the expertise of Adventist educators to leverage the knowledge, teacher experience, resource development, and grassroots networks that are already in place in the United States.
“This initiative is important because the heart of Adventist Education is service,” reflects Stephen Bralley, NAD director of secondary education. “This is all about being the hands of Jesus in a world of need. The opportunity for our teachers to share and learn in Malawi will make a lasting change for our teachers, our students and Malawian teachers and students.”
Phase One Begins
Since 2017, ADRA has been spearheading a multi-year project called the School-Feeding Initiative, which is implemented in five countries in the Southern Africa region—Zimbabwe, Malawi, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), Mozambique and Madagascar, to provide food relief to communities devastated by the El Niño drought and support them on their road to recovery. In total, ADRA has fed more than 50,000 children at 186 schools across Southern Africa.
“ADRA recommended the partnership start in Malawi since English is the country’s official language,” Siliga says. “American educators will be able to communicate effectively with local teachers, provide resources, and offer professional development.”
More than 5,000 students are currently being served through ADRA’s school-feeding initiative in Malawi. The success of the initiative has resulted in improved nutrition, and increased retention and engagement of children in school.