Mambanje/Makwandara Low-cost Boarding Initiative

The Mambanje Community has identified education as a critical need for their development but children completing Primary School in the village need to walk 14km each day to attend high...
Zimbabwe - Hwange
Key Points
  • The nearest high school is 7km one way in Makwandara, meaning a walk of 14km EVERY DAY for scholars

  • Students leave at 5am and return at 6.30pm, leaving little time for homework and home life

  • Since 2010 the community has experienced a 50% drop out rate from primary to high school as a result

  • Not obtaining O-levels in Zimbabwe means little chance to no chance of gaining employment

The Mambanje Community


Mambanje is one of the most remote and underdeveloped communities in the Hwange Region. The African Bush Camps Foundation has partnered with the community in addressing their development issues having engaged with the community now for over three years, supporting income generating projects as well as the community and school through improved infrastructure and resources, capacity building and support of orphaned and vulnerable children.

The Mambanje Community has identified education as a critical need for their development. We have been supporting the community to develop their only school, Mambanje Primary, an initiative that has been welcomed by the community and now the development of access to a secondary school is the required next step in promoting education in the area; helping to motivate the current primary school children to look forward to going to high school as well as to spark adult learning within the community. Dropout rates from primary school to high school since 2010 have been in the region of 50%, meaning only half of the children have continued to Makwandara or other High Schools in the area. Amongst those who drop out, most of the girls are leaving for urban areas to look for work as housemaids and others have married or have fallen pregnant with some living as single mothers at their homes. The boys often end up herding cattle for a living around the community.

Major reasons children are dropping out of school are:

  • Children are not motivated to pass their primary schooling as going to Makwandara is demotivating
  • There is also a lack of a clear next step in their schooling careers
  • The path to Makwandara is dangerous due to wildlife roaming in the area• Absenteeism is high due to demotivation and wildlife threats
  • It is a very big risk and danger to send children to live with extended families in order to be close to a secondary school. Cases of sexual assault and slavery are a threat as well as the breaking up of families

In response to the community’s need African Bush Camps Foundation has already secured funding and constructed a teacher’s cottage and is now fundraising to build an additional classroom block that will serve as the initial facility for a remote boarding facility for students to attend Makwandara High School and not have to endure the dangerous walk every day.

The building of an additional teacher’s cottage has provided the necessary accommodation for additional teachers for the secondary school while at the same time attracting highly qualified government appointed teachers to both the primary and secondary school as accommodation is often a hindrance to attracting the most qualified teachers. The funding for the teacher’s cottage also included the purchase of a hydraform brick making machine, which the community are now able to use for various infrastructure projects. Using the hydraform is an environmentally friendly building technique.

Production Benefits

  • Blocks consist of 90% soil and 10% cement• Unskilled labour can be used
  • On-site production using local soil
  • Effortlessly start or expand block yards with mobile machinesConstruction Benefits
  • No mortar, Dry stacked interlocking technology
  • High quality face brick
  • Fast and easier construction
  • Use of unskilled labour
  • Mobile machines means eliminating
  • Dry stacking interlocking technology allows fast construction

Local Community Benefits

  • Opportunity to train in block production and construction
  • Stimulating economic growth
  • Local materials are used
  • Creation of jobs and transfer of skills
  • Building of quality and thermally efficient homes
  • Low maintenance cost
  • 25 young adults would return to high school given the chance if there was a local high school


Zimbabwe - Hwange
Having begun building relationships here since 2006, our programmes are the most established in the areas in and...
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Focus Area


By contributing to the improvement of children’s education, from Early Childhood Development through to tertiary studies, a significant...
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Project Progress


Raising funds for the procurement of textbooks for 275 packs

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