Malawi has made positive strides in putting mechanisms to encourage girls’ education. Non-Governmental Organisations, both local and international, have scaled up their efforts to eradicate all forms of threats to girls education. NGOs like Plan International, UNICEF, Malawi Girl Guides Association, and FAWEMA (just to mention a few) have all been proactive by building girls' hostels, providing scholarships and imparting life skills using various methods.
There are still a myriad of challenges that girls are facing in order to access quality education and equal opportunities. Still rampant in the country are issues of early and forced marriages, lack of sanitary facilities in schools, teenage pregnancies, peer pressure, and cultural beliefs, among a long list of challenges.
During a focus group discussion held in Dedza, some young girls revealed that their school environment is still not conducive for girls. According to these girls, those in the older classes are mocked are called names e.g Makolo (Parents) by their peers; teachers use them as bad examples in class; and others are involved in sexual relationships with their teachers in order to get good grades.
Timveni Child and Youth Media Organisation, with support from UNICEF, held the meetings in Dedza as part of the JPGE program. The meetings were aimed at increasing adolescent and girls participation in education. This can be done especially by empowering them to take vibrant action in addressing some of the critical barriers affecting their education, awareness campaigns, and through establishing and building the capacity of the school Education Ambassador’s Programme, etc.
The meetings also involved mobilization of adolescent girls who had dropped out of school to re-enroll and take action in promoting girls’ education in their communities. The Meetings also emphasized the importance of establishing a network in promoting girls’ education between children and young people in all the schools and the communities
The meetings were conducted in 3 clusters. Namely; Chigwenembe, Chimbiya and Makankula, which were represented by 9 schools. A total of 21 girls attended the meeting. 5 students from chigwenembe and Mphunzi primary schools, 8 girls from Chimbiya, Hinda and Nthulu. The final meeting was held at Makankhula F.P school with 8 girls in attendance.
With such an approach, there is hope for the Malawian girl child that someday all girls will be able to access quality education and achieve their dreams.
Tags: plan fawema magga girls education empowerment awareness discussions focus groups