University Of Livingstonia At A Glance

University Of Livingstonia At A Glance

A Brief History of The University of Livingstonia

The Synod of Livingstonia, under the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), has experienced rapid expansion since the establishment of Livingstonia Mission by Dr. Robert Laws in 1875.  The station was founded in honor of Dr. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary, educator and physician who opened up Africa by exposing slave trade and imploring others to bring Christianity, commerce and civilization to this undeveloped land.

During his 52 years in Malawi, Dr. Laws built on the Khondowe plateau overlooking Lake Malawi an “institution” known in his era as the “greatest achievement” in Central Africa.  Facilities including a church, schools, hospitals, houses, post office, native store, and workshops were constructed.
With Laws’ vision and leadership, Livingstonia  Mission  offered educational facilities unparalleled elsewhere in   East and Central Africa.  Schools catered to students from Livingstonia Mission, the Dutch Reformed Church  Mission, and from as far a field as Zambia and Tanzania.

Dr. Laws felt education through university level was essential to develop a self-sufficient Malawian population with high moral and ethical values.  Leaders were needed for the country.  Higher education began at Livingstonia in 1895 consisting of teacher and ministerial preparation classes.  In the 1920s, a Christian College at Livingstonia helped to train leaders for the future.  Unfortunately, Dr. Law’s retirement in 1927 brought a more conservative view, and establishing Livingstonia University was not seen as a priority at that time..
From Livingstonia Mission, more than 500 primary schools and five large secondary schools have been established in Northern Malawi.  Working with the government, the CCAP currently responds to approximately 40% of the educational needs of the country.  The Synod of Livingstonia is highly respected for its achievements in education and commitment to advancing Malawi.
Widespread interest motivated Synod officials to formally launch the University of Livingstonia using a decentralized education model.  Five constituent colleges at two locations now serve over 500 students.

The university headquarters is located at Livingstonia along with Livingstonia Technical College and the College of Education which opened 27 August 2003.  Ekwendeni houses three colleges including the College of Commerce, Ekwendeni College of Nursing and the Livingstonia Theological College.
The Synod believes that a church university founded on Christian values provides exceptional education for young people of Malawi.  The university offers within the country continuity in education to qualified students who come from church or secular secondary schools.  The institution will sustain spiritual, moral and social values important to the Malawian society and will boost the ability of Malawi to train leaders for future development of Malawi’s economic base.
Mission Statement
 The University of Livingstonia,
 through excellence in teaching, research and learning environment,
shall educate and inspire students to become principled leaders
who will  transform society for the glory of God.

Core Values
The following core values will provide the foundation for operation at the university:
Open Door Policy
The University of Livingstonia shall be open to all people who have the ability to benefit from its educational offerings.  Enrollment will not be limited by region, creed, race, gender or disability.
Enhancement of Educational Opportunities
The University of Livingstonia is established to enhance higher education opportunities in Malawi, not to detract from existing educational institutions or those that may be developed in the future.
Standard of Excellence
The University of Liivingstonia will set a standard of excellence that will permeate the entire institution, its educational programs and infrastructure.
Student Success
Student success will be our number one priority. The success of our students will be the measure of our excellence.
Character Development
At this faith-based university curriculum and instruction will be geared toward the integration of faith and learning.  Emphasis will be placed on educating both mind and heart of potential leaders who will be inspired to serve society for the improved future of Malawi.
University Environment
The University of Livingstonia will maintain an inviting and supportive learning environment conducive to maximum personal growth where respect for others is valued and practiced.
Stewardship and Development
The University of Livingstonia shall serve as a model of effective stewardship and will help Malawi achieve high standards of moral, social, economic and physical development.

Since 2000, the Synod has studied the feasibility of fulfilling the long ago vision of Dr. Laws.  A 25 member commission meets under the leadership of former U. N. ambassador, Jake Muwamba (right) , to evaluate and guide the progress of the university.  Mr. John Banda (far right), Project Coordinator, has been working to facilitate plans.
Reverend H. Matiya Nkhoma, General Secretary of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, is very enthused about the possibility of bringing to fruition the vision of Dr. Laws.  “Malawians have carried this dream in their hearts for over 100 years.  Dr. Laws believed that our people are worthy of higher education.  Students of the University of Livingstonia will become leaders of a more prosperous tomorrow for Malawians.”


Dr. Henry P. Kirk and Mrs. Jenny Sheldon Kirk are serving as Vice Chancellor and Director of University Relations respectively.  Dr. Kirk retired in June 2002 after 40 years in higher education, serving 16 years as president of Centralia College in Washington State, U.S.A.  Mrs. Kirk’s experience includes over 25 years of education administration in public relations and fund-raising. “Education is a lifelong pursuit,” states  Dr. Kirk.  “The University of Livingstonia will provide an opportunity for access to advanced learning for many Malawians.”

Broad Based Representation for Planning
University of Livingstonia Commission

Mr. J. R. BandaMrs. L. E. Chibaka
Prof. Egbert Chibambo
Mrs. R. L. Chibambo
Mr. D. P. Chipeta
Mr. R.L.M. Gondwe
Hon. B. H. Kawonga, MP
Mr. S. F. C. Kondowe
Mr. J. S. C. Longwe
Mr. B. K. Mhango
Dr. A. C. Mkandawire
Mr. O. C. Mkandawire
Hon. O. I. Mkandawire, MP
Dr. A. W. C. Msiska
Hon. H. M. Mughogho, MP.
Mr. J. T. X. Muwamba, Chairperson
Mr. A. K. Mwakasungula
Rev. P. K. Nyirenda
Very Rev. Dr. S. M. Nyirenda
Mr. R. N. Nyirongo
Prof. J. D. K. Saka
Prof. M. E. Shumba
Project Coordinator, Founding Registrar, University of MalawiDeputy Headmistress, Katoto Secondary School
Mayor, Mzuzu City
One of first members of Kamuzu Banda’s Cabinet; one of first to organize National Women’s League
Lecturer, Mzuzu University and owner of printing business
CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, Acting Auditor
Member of Parliament
Headmaster, Livingstonia Secondary School
Principal, Livingstonia Technical College
Attorney with own practice
Physician and Owner of Mumbwe Family Practice Clinic, Mzuzu
Retired Deputy Headmaster, Rumphi Secondary School
Member of Parliament
Librarian, University of Malawi
Member of Parliament, Proprietor, Phwezi Technical College
Former Ambassador to the United Nations
High Commissioner
Bible translator; former lecturer at Teacher Training College
Former CCAP Synod of Livingstonia Moderator and Principal, Zomba Theological College
Former CCAP Synod of Livingstonia Education Secretary
Professor of Chemistry, University of Malawi
Professor of Education, Mzuzu University

Ex-officio Commission Members – CCAP Synod of Livingstonia
Rev. M. C. E. Munthali                      Moderator
Rev. M. M. Banda                             Moderator Elect
Rev. H .K. Mvula                              Immediate Past Moderator
Rev. H. Matiya Nkhoma                    General Secretary
Rev. Ted A.G. Mwambila                  Deputy General Secretary
Mr. Macmin Mulaga                          Acting Education Secretary
Rev. B. A. R. Mwakasungula             Parish Minister & Head of Station at Livingstonia
Mr. H.C. Nthakomwa                        General Treasurer
University of Livingstonia Administrative Staff
Dr. Henry P. Kirk                             Vice Chancellor; retired president Centralia College, Washington
State, USA; 40 years in higher education
Mrs. Jenny Sheldon Kirk                   Director, Unversity Relations; retired administrator with 25+ years in
higher education; public relations and fundraising
Dr. Augustine W.C. Msiska                Currently advisor; University Librarian effective October 2003 upon
retirement from University of Malawi
Mr. Eliezer Kalumbi                          Principal, College of Education; Lecturer, Mzuzu University
Mr. P.J. Khonje                                Principal, College of Commerce
Mr. Joseph S.C. Longwe                   Principal, Livingstonia Technical College
Reverend Dr. D.S. Mwakanandi         Principal, College of Theology
Mr. Flemmings F. Nkhandwe             Principal Tutor, School of Nursing
University of Livingstonia Links Around the World
Reverend Ronald Rice                      Associate, International Institute for Christian Studies, Seattle
Washington, USA
Dr. Paul Scotchmer                           Vice President, International Council for Higher Education,
Snohomish, Washington, USA
Dr. Steve Stargardter                         President, City University, Bellevue Washington, USA
Dr. Jim Walton                                  President, Centralia College, Centralia, Washington, USA
Dr. Jack White                                  President, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania


It is Important to Further Develop the University of Livingstonia:

  • Malawians have a high regard for education, are eager to learn, and need increased opportunity.
  • This private university provides a high moral and ethical foundation for students.
  • Malawian leaders and entrepreneurs are desperately needed to improve the economic development of the country.
  • In a country of 11 million people, only 2 other universities exist.  Affordable opportunities for higher education in Malawi are limited.
  • Currently, few students qualified to attend university can do so because of lack of facilities and spaces for students.
  • Higher education costs outside the country are prohibitive for most Malawians.
  • Many foreign educated Malawians do not return to Malawi to work.
  • Synod educational facilities and curricula exist  that can be upgraded to develop the university at a reasonable cost.

Additional higher education programs will enable Malawians to participate in the development of their country and its economy. Education is the gift of a lifetime that can be used to provide a better environment for future generations.
Priority Needs and Projects
Please note:  The costs of items listed are estimates.  It is implicit, unless specifically requested otherwise by donors, that any cost savings incurred in relation to any purchase or project will be retained for maintenance, repair, or replacement.    

  1. University Vehicles

The university and its administrative offices will be located on the Khondowe Plateau at Livingstonia in Northern Malawi.  Because of the difficult access by public transportation and limited assistance available through Synod resources, the university has an urgent need of two vehicles:
a)   A low mileage, good condition, used minibus or 12-passenger van, preferably with 4 wheel
drive, is needed to transport students around on the plateau and infrequently up and down the
hill either from Chitimba (via the Lake Shore Road) or from Rumphi (via the Rumphi Road).
            Estimated cost:  $15,000 USD
b)    A low mileage, good condition, used 4 door twin cab, 4 wheel drive vehicle to transport
faculty, visiting dignitaries and supplies to Livingstonia.
Estimated cost:  $15,000 USD
Both vehicles would bear the emblem or advertising of the donor if desired.

  1. Food Services

Roxburgh Hall is being renovated by 3 Rotary Clubs and Westminster Presbyterian Church from Lewis County, Washington state, U.S.A., to accommodate the dining facility needs of the university.  This will provide adequate eating and meeting space for 80 students.  Minimal furnishings and equipment have been purchased to provide service for 40 students.  Additional equipment and supplies are needed immediately including tables, chairs, kitchen and serving utensils, stove, refrigerator and freezer.  Construction of a cold room and bathing facilities for cooks is also needed.
     Estimated cost:  $25,000 USD

  1. University House

The historic University House provides living space for visiting faculty and university administrative staff.  Restoration and furnishing of this facility will support the instructional program and provide an attractive setting for faculty and staff.
Estimated cost:  $15,000 USD

  1. Office and Recreational Equipment

The university has little resources and start-up expenses have been considerable.  There is an immediate need for a high volume photocopying machine that can produce collated 2-sided copies to support the instruction program and meet office needs.  A new computer that accepts both 3.5” disks and CDs is preferred to interface with current equipment available through the Synod.  At least 2 laptop computers that have CD read and write capability are needed to support the administrative staff needs.  Two printers are needed; one a color desk jet and the other a black and white laser printer for volume printing.  Photocopier and printer ink cartridges are expensive and are needed.
In addition, leisure equipment is needed for student recreation and relaxation.  Two color televisions and two VCRs are required; one for each hostel so that students can watch the news and view curriculum related video tapes.  It is imperative that students be provided recreational equipment such as soccer and volley balls, Christian videos or movies, chess sets, and other leisure equipment to keep them occupied in positive, character building activities when not in class or studying.
Estimated cost:  $30,000 USD

  1. Student Scholarships and Endowment for Scholarships

Ample opportunities exist to assist with financing the education of bright, but impoverished students.
Most students in Malawi are not able to pay school fees for themselves.  Many rely on donations from “well wishers” – family members, sponsors, or friends from foreign countries.  The current yearly cost associated with educating, housing and feeding a university student is approximately $2,000 USD.  Students will pay a portion of that cost through tuition equal to approximately $800 USD.  With the continual devaluation of the Malawi kwacha, the contribution becomes increasingly difficult for students to raise.  Partial or full scholarships will allow students from all walks of life to attend university.  Many promising young women and men are left behind because they are unable to afford higher education.  A scholarship of $2,000 will pay for one student for one year.
Gifts of endowment for scholarships are desperately needed.  Any amount of endowment money that can be set aside to generate income to be used for scholarships will be extremely helpful in easing the burden of already stretched families that want a better future for their children.
Estimated cost:  Individual scholarship for 2003 – 2004 = $2,000 USD
Endowment Donation – Any amount will be gratefully received

  1. Endowed or Sponsored Faculty Positions

The plan for development of the University of Livingstonia includes hiring full-time faculty, using adjunct faculty from inside Malawi, inviting faculty from abroad, and offering faculty exchanges.  There are several ways donors can participate.  Endowment can be set aside to cover the cost of a faculty salary or a donor might wish to sponsor a position within the university – e.g. The Robert Laws Professor of English.  In addition, donors may want to help bring faculty to Malawi or send Malawian lecturers to other countries as part of an exchange.  These costs will vary, but can be arranged.
Estimated cost:  $ 25,000 – Sponsor full-time faculty for one year
                          $ 10,000 – transportation and incidental expenses for faculty exchange
                          $200,000 – one time contribution to endow a named faculty position
Endowment Donation – Any amount will be gratefully received

  1. Student Dormitories

As a residential campus, student dormitories are essential.  To begin, the university is borrowing existing living space from the Synod and refurbishing it as needed.  In order to grow, the university needs 2 dormitories for that will house 80 students each.
The concept would be a building containing sets of two rooms that would house 2 – 4 students each with a shared bath separating the 2 rooms.  Community shower facilities would be available at either end of the dormitory.  One dormitory would house women and the other would house men.
Estimated cost:  $150,000 USD each dormitory or $300.000 USD total

  1. Classroom Facilities

To begin, the university is borrowing space from the Livingstonia Technical College and the Livingstonia Secondary School.  Generously, the college has provided 2 classrooms with desks for use and a small office.  The secondary school has provided a large multi-purpose room for the university.  No desks are available for this teaching facility, but an adjoining room has been offered for office space.
An existing block building containing four (4) large classrooms can be refurbished, furnished, and brought up to modern standards for instruction.  One room can be remodeled for faculty office space.
In addition, future need will include a new classroom block to accommodate 6 furnished classrooms, an equipped media center, and furnished faculty office and lounge.
Estimated cost:  $40,000 USD for existing classroom block; $ 210,000 for new classroom block
Total:  $250,000 USD

  1. University Library

At the heart of any university is its library.  Phase I will provide funding for basic library facilities and resources including study and research facilities, reference books, student and faculty textbooks, video and electronic support and library equipment.  An in-depth proposal is available on request.
Estimated cost:  $100,000 USD

  1. Upgrade Infrastructure for Electrical, Water and Accessibility to the Plateau

Existing infrastructure at the plateau is minimally adequate.  Upgrading is imperative.

  1. a)  Power outages on the plateau interrupt office and classroom equipment and the ability of university students to use computers and access the internet.  An existing functional generator must be renovated and connected so that it can provide continual electricity when the Malawi grid fails.  At one time, this generator provided all of the electricity for the plateau.  It is large enough to supply sufficient electricity for existing facilities and area growth.

          Estimated cost:  $10,000

  1. b)  The water source for the plateau is natural springs.  The catchment area is open and contamination and/or blockage, while infrequent, can occur.  This system was built by Dr. Laws in the early 1900s.  A covered pipeline from the source is needed to ensure sanitary and safe delivery of water to the plateau.  A series of holding tanks and appropriate pipe lines would help provide a constant water supply when water shortages, low pressure during high usage times, or difficulties arise.  At the same time, efforts will be made through the local community leaders to preserve the catchment area.

Estimated cost:  $50,000
Two stretches of road service Livingstonia.  Many people on the plateau and in the Phoka area are limited in their ability to market their crops and goods or to purchase goods from the lakeshore because items cannot be conveniently transported up or down especially during the rainy season.

  1. c)   One rises from Rumphi Boma slowly up to the plateau.  Recent flooding has washed away 2 bridges.  For a period of time, access from this side was impossible.  Repair work is being done and the road is passable by 4 wheel drive.  During the rainy season, this road becomes very muddy and slippery and sometimes is impassable.

    Estimated cost:  $75,000

  1. d)  The historic road to the east of the area is called Gorodi.  This engineering feat was accomplished by hand in 1905 under the leadership of James Gauld.  One author of that era describes the road rising “nobly from the lake with a series of 24 devils elbows.”*   Today, the road is passable with 4 wheel drive, several of the hairpin turns have been lost to erosion or landslides.  While an adventure, this road is in serious need of repair.  A plan has recently been developed that documents the condition of the road, breaks down repair work into manageable projects, and provides a training manual for local workers.  The extensive repairs are possible, and a plan for yearly maintenance is needed.

Estimated cost:  $100,000 USD – $20,000 received from Raven Trust in Scotland; work has begun.

  1. e)  The conditions of roads on the plateau range from decent to barely passable.  A plan for continual maintenance is needed and adequate equipment is desired for grading and repair.  A used, small tractor/grader would be ideal for most work.  A stone crusher to make gravel for road surfacing is also needed.

    Estimated cost: $28,000 USD – tractor
                             $10,000 USD – stone crusher
    Total cost:        $38,000 USD

  1. Faculty and Administrative Staff Housing

As soon as possible, housing will be needed for use by full-time faculty and administrative staff.  Modest single-family dwellings with 2 to 4 bedrooms will be adequate.  Basic furniture and equipment will be needed for each house.  If houses are unoccupied for a period of time, they will be used as income-producing rentals.
Estimated cost per unit:  $30,000 USD; Ten (10) units needed:  $300,000

  1. Robert Laws Museum at Stone House – Library Archives and Cultural Center

Malawians have treasured for years memorabilia, artifacts and personal belongings of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Laws.  Currently, two rooms at one end of Stone House are used to house the Robert Laws Museum.  Unfortunately, proper archival or preservation practices have not been employed.  Many of the artifacts are deteriorating under the African sun and will be lost forever if action is not taken.
It is the desire of the university to create a proper library archive to preserve and store important records of the history of Livingstonia and Malawi.  In addition, the university would like to create an interpretive cultural center to help preserve not only artifacts, but regional cultural practices including stories, music, dances, crafts and customs.
Included would be a small demonstration village so that visitors can learn about Malawian culture and young Malawians can continue to learn of their heritage from elders.  The collection of oral histories from local families involved in the development of the area will be crucial to the preservation of this important piece of Malawian history.
The Ministry of Antiquities has been approached informally about this idea and is very interested in exploring the feasibility.  It is anticipated that Malawians would come forward to join in this effort.  Several prominent families from the area may be approached to assist.
Estimated cost:  $250,000 USD

  1. University Center Complex

As the university grows, adequate multi-purpose and food service facilities will be needed for students, faculty, and staff.  The University Center will be comprised of meeting and conference rooms, recreational areas, lounge and study facilities, university administrative offices, computer center, and bookstore.  A cafeteria style dining hall would be useful to serve students, faculty, and anyone visiting the campus.  The bookstore would provide ready access to textbooks, school supplies, and a small selection of personal items.  A small auditorium where cultural activities and entertainment would take place would be included.
Estimated cost:  $500,000 USD

  1. Guest and Visitor Accommodations
  2. a)  Stone House, a national monument and the residence of Dr. and Mrs. Laws for 26 years, has been used as a hostel for tourists and for visitor accommodations.  In July 2002, the Ivybridge Rotary Club from Devon, U.K. did an extensive renovation of Stone House, the culmination of a year long project that involved raising £50,000, purchasing many materials, shipping materials and equipment in a container to Malawi, and a 6-week work party in Malawi to accomplish the task.  Their work has made a tremendous difference, and Malawians have been inspired to keep the facility clean and in good repair.  The Ivybridge Rotary plans to send a second work party and more supplies in 2004.

Officials from the Department of Antiquities of Malawi and a contingent from the Royal Norwegian Embassy recently visited the plateau with the specific idea in mind of surveying national monument structures and planning renovations and repairs.  Their report is forthcoming.
In the meantime, structural work needs to be completed on Stone House to make it seismically strong.  Additional repairs and updates to the kitchen and expansion of bathroom facilities (e.g. currently there are three commodes and three showers to serve a full house of 40 visitors) need to be done to comfortably accommodate and serve the stream of tourists and visitors to the area.  With the establishment of the university, parents, sponsors and university visitors will be utilizing this facility on a regular basis.  It should be kept in decent repair and presentable/suitable order to be attractive for repeat visitation.
           Estimated cost:  $80,000 USD

  1. b)  Partially constructed Hostel and Multi-purpose Room

A sizeable structure has been designed and partially built near the church and manse on the plateau.  The hostel contains 6 rooms that will accommodate up to 20 visitors, and minimal bathroom and shower facilities are included.  The structure contains a central gathering area for guests and a small kitchen facility.  Attached to the living space is a large (estimated 1800 square feet) multi-purpose room that is intended to be used for conferences and other large meetings.  The walls are up, window frames in, and partial flooring and roofing have been done.  This structure needs to be finished and furnished.  It will be an asset not only for the university, but for the plateau in accommodating visitors and conference guests.
Estimated cost:  $30,000 USD
Total Projects Estimates:  $2,133,000 plus scholarship and endowment donations
Appropriate Donor Recognition
Recognition commensurate with donor desires and in relation to gifts given will be provided as appropriate.  It is our desire to recognize those who generously contribute not only to thank them, but to provide inspiration for others to follow.  We thank everyone for their interest and appreciate their contributions small and large, monetary, in-kind or prayer.
For further information, please see our contact page.
*Morrison, J. H. Streams in the Desert, George H. Doran Company, New York, 1917