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Malawi Officials Blast Madonna's School Plans

Ministry of Education says singer did not get permission to build 10 new schools

March 14, 2012 9:45 AM ET
madonna
Madonna performs during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show.
Chad Ryan/CSM/Landov

The government of Malawi has accused Madonna of refusing consultation over her plans to build 10 new schools in the impoverished African nation. Malawi's Ministry of Education spokeswoman Lindiwe Chide told Reuters that the government was "fed up" with the pop icon, complaining that she did not inform authorities when she scrapped plans for a girls academy due to the alleged mismanagement of funds. "Now she decides to announce that she plans to build 10 schools without getting authority from us again," Chide said of the singer's partnership with the non-profit organization buildOn. "We now feel like this is all about propping up her global image and not in our interest."

"She has no mandate to decide where she wants to build a school because she doesn't know our needs and where we want new schools," Chide told Reuters. "She first needed to consult us, get permission from us before doing anything."

"This is simply not true," Trevor Neilson, the head of the Global Philanthropy Group, fired back in a statement released by Madonna's spokesperson. "The government of Malawi has been fully updated on Madonna's effort to provide funding for ten schools to be built in communities where there are no schools." According to Neilson, Madonna's Raising Malawi organization had communicated with Malawi's Minister of Education and that buildOn had discussed the project with local officials and "cleared all plans for school construction with them."

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