St John Paul II Leadership and IT Institute

Chilomoni, Blantyre
“I love the building; it is definitely unique. As a student, it is a motivation to get me up and out in the morning.”
(Keith Banda, Former JP2 Student)
Beehive Main Campus, Chilomoni, Blantyre, Malawi
IT Training College
Year of Construction
2010 – 2011
Design Architect
SIlvia Ott
Project Architect
Dawid Wiljoen
Design Engineer
James Harding
Geotechnical Engineer
Zedi Nyirenda
Project Engineers
Hendrix Mgawana, Sam Youdan and Malcom Savage
Total Building Area (Approx. GEA)
Number of Storeys
Construction Cost
203,407,375 MWK
(£207,621 GBP – rate correct as of 24th August 2020)
Cost per m²
116,833 MWK/m²
(£119 GBP/m²)

“Digital technology is absolutely essential to Malawi’s socio-economic development. Across the world, communications, commerce and services are moving online. Malawi cannot afford to be left behind.”
(Laura Kullenberg, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi, 2017)

Established in 2011, the St. John Paul II Leadership and IT Institute was created as a way to provide desperately-needed IT training facilities to the township of Chilomoni, Malawi and, further-afield, to the nearby city of Blantyre. The Institute aims to offer state-of-the-art training and services, in order to create work-ready and employable young graduates.

Large-scale, high-quality construction was vital for creating an aspirational learning environment for otherwise relatively deprived young people. The building comprises 9 Classrooms, 1 Workshop and 2 large Training Rooms, situated on the South-side of a wide, central axis. Additional support and ancillary spaces are situated on the opposite side of the axis, creating quiet offices for private meetings and individual staff work. The axis ends with a generous ground-floor Library, accessible to all students. A feature concrete spiral escape staircase adds interest and dynamism to the Library.

The building utilises Beehive’s site-made ‘Hydraform’ interlocking block system as external envelope infill (which are formed using local soil) and are supported by an expressed reinforced concrete structural frame. Much of the interior of the building adopts fair-faced Hydraform block wall finishes, as an economical and low-maintenance solution. All floors are polished terrazzo, using stones from the district of Balaka, just 80 miles from Chilomoni.

The split roof with horizontal ventilation panels between, in addition to the ‘honeycomb’ brick detailing adopted at high-level on classroom walls, naturally draws heat out of the building, allowing learning spaces to be passively cooled. Three light shafts penetrate the building’s interior, creating bright, naturally-lit communal circulation spaces. Large floor-to-ceiling-height glazed panels enclose each end of the building, further inviting daylight to permeate through the bright central axis.
Social Impact
Daily spiritual gatherings for those that want to join, and regular prayer groups with fellow believers from other colleges
Spiritual Wellbeing
people are currently employed at JPII
0 %
of graduates get jobs
Job Creation
students trained since 2011
0 %
of students are from the local area
Quality Education
students on on scholarships a year
Students visit patients in local hospitals
Supporting the Vulnerable
“Learning at JPII has opened me up to the IT world. I learnt more than I expected and I am now a CAD Technician in the construction department, as well as an Architectural Assistant. Back at home they rely on me to help out with computer problems as well.”
(Keith Banda, Former JP2 Student)
JPII has become a highly reputable IT training college in Malawi. It enrolls 600 students a year, with 85% coming from the Blantyre region and the remainder from around the country. JPII offers a range of different IT courses and provides a free leadership programme to every new student, to encourage them to become the leaders of tomorrow. Over half of JPII’s graduates get full time work – a huge achievement in an area where 42.7% of the available workforce is currently unemployed (Office for National Statistics). Many students get work at Beehive and others go onto find work outside doing Data Entry, Lecturing, Web Development, Graphic Design, Customer Support and Technical work. JPII has a scholarship programme that enables the poorest in society to access education. It is governed by a guiding principle of ‘public service, personal sacrifice’ and students are encouraged to give back to the local community through voluntary work. This involves visiting local hospitals, cleaning local markets and planting trees on Michiru Mountain.
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