Established in Bishop’s University, Praxis Malawi’s members come from a wide spectrum of interconnected communities (be they academic, institutional, professional, local, business, not-for-profit, etc.). Praxis Malawi values dialogue as a means to enact appreciably constructive and tangible change. Our members work towards the locally defined needs (defined as improving critical thinking, creativity and entrepreneurship), and are encouraged to develop strategies of emancipation through their own skill-set and knowledge recognizing and utilizing other’s expertise as well. Putting theory into practice is meant to encourage both short and long term goals; recognizing that future planning is as important as immediate needs. Although based in the Chillanga region of Kasungu, Malawi, we do not limit our work to a single region, rather we commit to working with communities as we are able.
Why Praxis? Why Malawi?
The concept of “praxis” in the social science field is one of the most empowering and intimidating words uttered in Academia. On the one hand it allows students to dream of possibilities that could be; on the other hand it can galvanize even the most experienced professor when they consider application of theories in “the real world” for purposes of social justice. Praxis Malawi embraces this challenge and encourages all members to work in partnership to consider and act upon ethical possibilities for change.
Known as “the warm heart of Africa”, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world (The World Bank). Per capita government expenditures, citizen income and access to education are woefully low in a country that prides itself on a culture of caring and hospitality. Recognizing that there is great need all over the world, our focus on
Malawi is based on the establishment of a positive and equitable human relationship with our community stakeholders.
Praxis Malawi is committed to being recognized locally and globally as an ethical partner in the development of education for sustainable change.
Praxis Malawi is committed to the alleviation of human suffering through collaborative and dialogic education. In partnership with local residents, and with the support of global patrons, we are dedicated to fostering the development of critical thinking, creativity, and entrepreneurship as a way to support the sustainable independence of local cultures.
Responsiveness: We are steadfast in addressing community identified needs through collaborative strategies.
Sustainability: We are dedicated to long term initiatives that create agency and support self-sufficiency.
Responsibility: We are committed to our fellow human-being’s right to succeed.
Our Commitment to Malawi
Praxis Malawi is a project that began with the simple belief that collaborative efforts between Canadian university students and community members of Malawi would result in mutual learning and positive, tangible outcomes.
We challenge our students to engage in research that require them to consider their academic discipline(s) in relation to local needs as indicated by community members. Our intention is to foster learning through collaborative critical thinking, creativity, and entrepreneurship among the students from various disciplines and members of the local community.
Primarily through experiential learning, Praxis Malawi involves students from multidisciplinary backgrounds engaged in creating and exploring their own research interests in conjunction with professors, peers and most especially, members of the local communities. The result of the experience is meant to encourage students and local community members to creatively expand their own borders of learning and area of studies through a spirit of reciprocal participation and dialogue.
Communities in partnership
Years of students working in the rural region of Malawi have produced positive results in local members identifying needs leading to joint efforts of problem solving. Our local participants indicate urgent needs ranging from health, education to business. As equal partners, Praxis Malawi has adopted the following comprehensive projects to operationalize our mandate:
Stemming from in-depth meetings with Chilagna’s educational stakeholders, we are currently developing an alternative school that will focus on key areas established by Malawians: Critical Thinking, Creativity and Entrepreneurship. Pending funding, we hope to start construction of the school in 2014.
A variance on the micro loan system, our program asks that recipients pay back the local community in an ongoing and sustainable manner. For example, a funded chicken cooperative will donate a portion of their eggs to village elders who risk malnourishment and a carpentry cooperative will donate a portion of their profits to pay for the education fees of vulnerable children.