Happy Classrooms

The Happy Classrooms project seeks to improve learning environments in government primary schools by decorating them with child-friendly, syllabus-related paintings.
2011Malawi

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting

Location Data

Blantyre urban, Blantyre rural, Nsanje, Lilongwe, Nkhotakota, Dwangwa, Ntchalo Peri-Urban, Rural, Urban

The Happy Classrooms project emerged from the need to improve learning environments in government primary schools. When boNGO started its early childhood education program it soon became clear that children graduating from boNGO’s Model Childcare Centers were introduced to a much lower standard of learning upon entering government primary schools.

To reduce the difference boNGO partnered with the primary schools in which boNGO’s pre-school graduates were enrolled, and decorated the Standard 1 and Standard 2 classrooms with child-friendly, syllabus-related paintings.The change it brought was great: teachers started to use a wider variety of teaching methods; and children concentrated better, remembered things easier, and school for them has become a more interesting, inspiring and friendly place.

Seeing the positive impact of the decorated walls, this initiative was implemented in other ten rural primary schools and given the name 'Happy Classrooms' project. Soon the project began to be replicated in as many primary schools as funding would allow. Since then many Malawian companies, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), have partnered with boNGO and sponsored more Happy Classrooms. Also international development organizations, such as Concern Worldwide, partnered with boNGO and "commissioned" boNGO to paint over 200 classrooms in their impact areas. From June 2011 to March 2014, over 900 classrooms have been transformed into Happy Classrooms.

Decorating one classroom costs $400 to $600 depending on how remote the school is and how much maintenance the walls need before painting. This price covers:

  • Introduction of the project to teachers, headmasters of schools and authorities from the Ministry of Education
  • Maintenance of the old walls
  • Painting materials
  • Art work
  • Administration

Each Happy Classroom will last for at least 10 years and have a positive impact on over 1,500 Malawian pupils. So far, boNGO has developed a  manual for painting classrooms of Std. 1-4, but plans to go up to Std. 8. 

Dramatically improves learning environment as teachers can teach more effectively and students can learn on their own from the decorationsTraining teachers on how to fully utilize class decorations; finding funding partners

Who we work with: