“Ujamaa Pamodzi Africa” Eyes On Improving Girl Child Education In Malawi

Malawi is considered one of the most peaceful countries but it is still categorized as one of the poorest nations globally. A total of 85 per cent of those swimming in poverty live in rural areas, and a greater percentage are women.

The statistics by UNICEF reveal that 42 per cent of Malawian girls get married and have children before the age of 18 and nine per cent go into marriages before the age of 15.

Since illiteracy among girls is high, they have been subjected to varied vulnerabilities which include child marriages, rape, teenage pregnancies and domestic abuse which has negatively impacted Malawi’s education. This has captured the attention of an organization called “Ujamaa Pamodzi Africa”.

They aim to ensure that every girl in Malawi has access to education. The organization is currently working on advancing girl child education in Malawi by providing favorable environments conducive for the girls to learn and study.

Through the “Ujamaa Pamodzi Africa” project, more girls are assertive, able to set boundaries and use their voice and physical skills to protect themselves from any gender-based violence. Memory Ngosi Chisenga speaks for “Ujamaa Pamodzi Africa” in Malawi, and she says that through the Empowerment Transformation Training in schools, drop-out levels due to pregnancy have been reduced by 44 per cent and early marriages reduced by 45 per cent.

“Empowerment Transformation Training program is effectively contributing to keeping girls safe from sexual violence in schools.”

In most societies, men have considered the strongest-minded people fueling the notion that they deserve special treatment. Chisenga said, “It is for this reason that the organization come up with another strategy of engaging boys in programs and dialogue that focuses on the prevention of Sexual Gender-Based Violence.

The boy Transformation program aims at disseminating information to boys to seek consent, and change their attitude towards girls.”

“Preference of education for a boy child over a girl child still exists in Malawi. People believe that girls should become housewives. This mindset has encouraged “Ujamma Pamodzi Africa” to enhance girl child education which in return will address gender inequality,” says Chisenga.

On her part, Kalimaziche primary school Head teacher, Tionge Manda, commended the programme saying it is largely contributing to keeping girls in school. “In the 2022/2023 academic year, the school registered only two cases of early pregnancies citing the program has largely contributed to slashing down of the cases,” says Manda.

Whilst applauding the organization for the vibrant approach, the Ministry of Education is also geared toward promoting the education of a girl child according to Mphatso Nkuonera who is the public relations officer for the Ministry of Education in Malawi.

As stipulated by Nkuonera, the government is implementing a “Malawi Education Reform” program that will recruit female teachers in all the districts in the country to act as role models in their respective areas to promote the education of a girl child.

A well-known Malawi Education Expert, Lucky Mbewe, feels “Ujumaa Pamodzi Africa’s” gesture will keep girls in school resulting in a decrease in the alarming cases of teenage marriages and early pregnancies.  According to Mbewe, a large number of girls in the country are grappling with early marriages because of a lack of initiatives of such a nature.

“It is the responsibility of everyone to protect a girl child and parents should be active in making sure that their girls are doing well in school. However, let us all celebrate a good work by Ujamaa Pamodzi Africa,” says Mbewe. He added that there should be a call to the government to give a chance to organizations to fully implement projects in enhancing the education of the girl child in the country.

Ujamaa Pamodzi Africa is a sexual and gender-based violence prevention organization working in 13 districts in Malawi in partnership with the government in the ministry of Gender and ministry of education.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals encourage countries to leave no one behind in various sectors including in the education sector.

Ellen Sanga


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