How did the Christmas gift giving go? I’m pleased to say that a number of people who heard my appeal responded (IMMA09). They gave gifts to Zomba Theological College (ZTC) and Theological Education by Extension Malawi (TEEM). Thanks to those who gave.
Two folks who regularly give each other Christmas gifts gave each other a donation to help ZTZ and TEEM. What was interesting was that each read the blog post and independently decided to gift the other a donation.
Another person decided to finish off their 2018 giving with $500 to ZTC and TEEM. That is 282,500 Malawi kwacha or twice as much as the average minister makes in a month.
It is actually never too late to give. If in the madness of the holiday season you missed out on giving or want to get an early start to 2019 donations, consider my five questions in relation to ZTC.
Q: Does this meet a real need versus meeting a perceived need?
The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) recently accredited ZTC. This was an arduous process that the Board of Trustees and the Governing Council initiated for the long-term health of ZTC. Part of the process included an infrastructure audit. The following are quotes from the NCHE report to ZTC:
“The quality of furniture [such as tables, chairs and whiteboards] in the classrooms needs to be improved”
“There is need to fit white boards in classrooms and other necessary learning resources”
“Stock of current books needs to be beefed up”
“The library requires more current prescribed and recommended textbooks to support the programme”
To maintain NCHE accreditation, something initiated by leadership at ZTC, there needs to be infrastructure improvements.
Q: Is this ask boring enough that no other donor will step in?
Covering basic maintenance that has been deferred for years is never exciting, so yes, this ask is boring. The ask is meeting a basic and essential need that no one else is attending to. There are no foundations set up to buy chairs for theological schools (although there are foundations that do help with capital projects – see an upcoming post about TEEM).
Q: Does this ask have a hope of multiplying something?
Besides the fact that education has an automatic multiplier effect on a community, purchase of this basic equipment increases both the appeal of ZTC and the effectiveness of its current operations. Students want to attend a place that looks professional and provides for their basic needs. When teachers have to worry about whether the lights work or if there are enough chairs for their students, they aren’t thinking about how to teach better.
Q: Will this ask increase the capacity of a person?
While this ask benefits a whole community, there are individuals who benefit more. For instance, Glory Mhango (pictured above) is the librarian at ZTC. Buying books, providing solar lights, and acquiring new desks and tables all make her job so much easier. She has a degree in library science but no matter how good she is, she can’t transcend the fact that ZTC has not equipped her well.
Q: Does this address some need beyond the physical?
A: No, at least not directly. Yes, if you consider that books are required for spiritual and academic growth. Yes, if you consider that education in general is something that contributes to the whole life of the person.
Four out of five with part marks for the last criteria = over 80%. Sounds like a great gift of change to me. What do you think?