When we discovered machines across Swaziland weren’t being used, we had to find out why.

Swaziland Schools Training and Partnerships In 2013, Swaziland announced its plan to achieve First World Status by 2020. The government decided to invest in education, supporting young people to become designers and engineers to further the country’s development. As part of the push, 70 Formech vacuum forming machines were purchased by the Ministry of Education and distributed nationwide for use in Design and Technology classes.

Demonstrating how to use our Vaccum forming machine.
Students using one of our machines to create a mold.

However, by 2016 Formech had received no contact or feedback from Swaziland schools. And worryingly, it was discovered that most of the machines were unused or had fallen into disrepair. Research soon revealed that teachers around the country simply did not know how to use them, or understand how they performed as a tool for designers and engineers.

Inspire had to act. Collaborating with the Ministry of Education, we created a plan to provide free and interactive training across the entire country. Four Inspire team members traveled to Swaziland, and together with the Senior Inspectorate for Design and Technology, facilitated four comprehensive demonstration and training days.

These sessions took place in all four regions of the country, and reached over 300 people, including teachers, students and inspectors. Every aspect of the visit was supported and funded by Formech, while the Ministry of Education delivered enthusiasm and generous hospitality.

The Inspire team saw the learners develop an understanding, appreciation, and keen interest in the technology they had available to them. And excitingly, they were full of new ideas they could utilize it in their own classrooms to help their students make the most of the machines.

This project was such a success, Inspire wanted to do more. Throughout the 2018/19 academic year, Inspire is connecting schools in the Mbabane and Nhlangano regions with UK schools. Design and Technology classes will be given the same design brief to use their Formech vacuum forming machines, and final products will be shared, compared, and celebrated. The wider vision is of cross-cultural exchanges, by connecting young minds and providing them with a platform to engage with peers in another continent.

If you’ve been inspired by our multinational project, contact the Formech Inspire team today.