Strengthening Malawi Education Systems (SMES)

  • P Project/Program

A Active

Key Information

The Strengthening Malawi Education Systems (SMES) is a programme that aims at increasing the quality of primary education delivery in Malawi, and specifically at improving foundational learning and completion of primary school for both boys and girls, while providing targeted support to the most disadvantaged girls. This is achieved through the following components and outputs: (i) Improving the efficiency of the public sector delivery of education, so that Malawi can use its own resources more efficiently and effectively (Outputs 1, 2 and 3 delivered through World Bank); (ii) Improving teaching and learning of primary school mathematics in the first four years of primary for all Malawian children, supporting the Malawi Government reform called the National Numeracy Programme (Output 4, delivered through a Cambridge Education contract); (iv) Helping very disadvantaged girls stay in school and transition into secondary (Output 5, delivered by Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED)). 

Lead Implementing Government(s)



Sub-Saharan Africa


Government Affiliation

Government-affiliated program


2019 - 2024

Ministry Affiliation

Malawi Ministry of Education

COVID-19 Response


Geographic Scope


Meets gender-transformative education criteria from the TES  


Areas of Work Back to Top

Education areas


  • Primary completion
  • Primary to secondary transition

Other skills

  • Life skills/sexuality education
  • Rights/empowerment education
  • Social and emotional learning


  • Curricula/lesson plans
  • Teacher training


  • Numeracy

Cross-cutting areas

  • Climate change
  • COVID-19 Response
  • Economic/livelihoods (including savings/financial inclusion, etc.)
  • Gender equality
  • Mentorship

Program participants

Target Audience(s)

Boys (both in school and out of school), Girls (both in school and out of school)


Not applicable or unknown

School Enrolment Status

Some in school

School Level

  • Lower primary
  • Upper primary

Other populations reached

  • School administrators

Participants include

Not applicable or unknown

Program Approaches Back to Top

Policy/legal environment

  • System-wide review and reform


  • Pre-service teacher training – pedagogy general
  • Teaching materials (e.g. lesson plans, curricula)

Program Goals Back to Top

Education goals

  • Gender parity and non-discrimination are promoted at all subjects/education levels
  • Improved academic skills (literacy and numeracy)
  • Increased grade attainment
  • Increased primary school completion
  • Increased progression to secondary school
  • Increased re-enrolment in school among out-of-school children

Cross-cutting goals

  • Increased advocacy/civic engagement
  • More equitable gender attitudes and norms