Saturday, 19 February 2011

Smartaid from Madonna?

Pop-star Madonna has two Malawian-born children and has been talking for years about improving the educational lot of children in Malawi. The Raising Malawi project focuses strongly on orphans (the country has an estimated 2 million Aids orphans).

Part of the bigger plan has always been to build an academy for girls (a la Oprah). According to yesterday's Nyasa Times, this plan has now been abandoned in favour of using the money to support the work of existing NGOs already working to provide better education in Malawi. The Kabbalah Centre prominently represented in the original plan as also been scrapped. The new plan proposes "building many more schools with other educational groups" to reach up to 10 times more children (including boys). No specifics are given on which educational groups will be supported and how they will be chosen.Hopefully this information will be made available, too.

The change in focus appears to be partly as a result of local community claims on land designated by government for the new school and/or "logistical problems". Whatever the reason, Madonna and Raising Malawi are actively choosing to exchange a vanity-project for work aimed at "expanding the ability for a group of non-profits to provide education for more kids"

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