In 2006 Doris Nthache from Dowa District was wondering what to do with her Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE). She could not think of employment as jobs were hard to come by.
But mother luck smiled at her when Creative Centre for Community Mobilisation (CRECCOM) launched a Mobilisation Corps of Malawi (MCM) Project in the district. She applied and was shortlisted for interviews.
After the interviews, she emerged successfully and was posted to Kabwinja Cluster in Madisi Zone. While there, she helped teachers develop teaching materials from local resources called talular.
This was under a project called Primary School Support Project which sought to help primary schools generate income to address problems such as renovating dilapidated structures or constructing toilets. The project also helped communities realize the importance of sending children to school as well as helping to create programmes to retain pupils.
Nthache would visit villages with colleagues, telling parents to send children to school.
“I told parents that they could send children who had dropped out because the government had introduced readmission policy,” she recalls.
Through her time with CRECCOM as an MCM, Nthache changed people’s mindsets. They realized the importance of education and started sending children, especially girls, to school. This work motivated her to join the teaching profession.
So, in 2007, she applied for a teaching programme at Lilongwe Teachers Training College. She was picked. She graduated in 2008.
Nthache, who was pleased to become a qualified teacher, was posted to Simaiwa Primary School, Nsalula Zone in Salima where she worked for 5 years before relocating to Dowa to follow her husband in 2015
However, the teacher accredits CRECCOM for what she has become in life. She says working as an MCM helped her become a good teacher because she is patient with her learners.
“Again, I learned how to make talulla before I became a teacher. I am now able to use the skill during my lessons,” she explains.
When we found her at Chikwete Primary School, seven kilometres from Mponela, Nthache had just finished her shift. But from the look of things, she appeared to enjoy her job as she had already started perusing her lesson plan, ready for the following day’s work.