In the heart of Lilongwe, Malawi, Balang'ombe Primary School is experiencing a transformative journey towards success. This remarkable achievement is made possible through the introduction of a suggestion box, which has become a catalyst for change within the school community. Under the Girls Get Equal project, funded by NORAD through Plan International, and with training on safe school committees by the Creative Centre for Community Mobilization, Balang'ombe Primary School is fostering an environment where student voices are heard and valued.
Deputy Headteacher Samala Lupanda, a visionary leader committed to nurturing student potential, recognizes the significance of the suggestion box. With unwavering determination, he states, "The suggestion box has revolutionized our school. It provides a platform for students to express their ideas, concerns, and suggestions freely. It empowers them to actively participate in shaping their education and school environment."
Headteacher Christina Mafuta echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of student engagement. She states, "We believe that every student has valuable insights and ideas to contribute. The suggestion box allows them to have a voice in decision-making processes, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment."
The introduction of the suggestion box has brought about a multitude of benefits for the students. They now have a platform to voice their grievances, share innovative ideas, and propose solutions to challenges they face. Mathews Phiri, a standard 4 student at the school shares his experience, saying, "Before the suggestion box, we felt our opinions didn't matter. Now, we have a chance to express our concerns and see them addressed. It has given us a sense of belonging and boosted our confidence."
Before the suggestion box, the school faced numerous challenges, such as inadequate student involvement in decision-making, limited avenues for students to express their concerns, and a lack of awareness about their rights. However, the suggestion box has proven to be a transformative tool, addressing these challenges head-on. It has opened up a channel of communication between students, teachers, and school management, leading to more inclusive decision-making processes.