Girls Uniting to Bring Awareness on Issues they Face
As a way of empowering girls to be effective advocates for girls’ education issues, the DfID funded, Keeping Girls in School (KGIS) project plans to implement school based girls’ advocacy weekends in all its 10 implementing districts in Malawi.
The activities are aimed at providing a platform for girls to share issues that they face and to build their capacity as champions and advocates who can effectively bring out their issues to duty bearers – actors who have a responsibility and obligation to realise the rights of the girls.
Activities have so far allowed girls to present their issues to duty bearers including representatives of Area Development Committees, Victim Support Units, Child Protection Committees, and Paralegal & Area Executive Committees in their respective surroundings.
Leading the process of the girls’ advocacy weekends is one of the project partners, the Forum for African Women Educationalist Malawi (FAWEMA). Their Liaison Officer, Mphatso Kapalamula reported that five districts have successfully conducted their school based activities. The remaining five districts will complete theirs in January 2017, followed by a national level advocacy weekend involving representatives from all the districts.
The school based advocacy weekend at Mulinga F.P School in Zomba district was met with a lot of excitement from students. The young advocates together with the school’s female teacher role models (FTRMs) took lead in bringing together all the students, the head teacher, other teachers and a few members of the community for their advocacy activities.
“We decided to have our activities during the morning assembly since this is the time when we were assured of having a bigger audience than doing it after everyone had knocked off,” explained Mercy Kapita, one of the FTRMs for the school.
“The girls chose to speak of the violence that they face at school. They creatively did so by coming up with speeches, choirs, drama and role playing from which we have selected 3 girls and their activities to go through to the zonal level activities,” added Mercy.
The Zonal level activities began in mid November and were implemented in Zomba, Ntcheu, Salima, Mzimba and Nsanje districts. The selected students presented their advocacy issues to a host of invited duty bearers.
Keeping Girls in School (KGIS) is a DfID funded project aimed at mitigating barriers to ensure girls’ completion of primary school and transition to secondary school. Save the Children has been implementing the Keeping Girls in School project in Malawi since 2013 with focus on two components – The School Experience (SE) and the Cash Transfer (CT). KGIS is being implemented in 10 districts in Malawi in a consortium with other local organisations; Forum for Women Educationists in Malawi (FAWEMA), Creative Centre for Community Mobilisation (CRECCOM), Bantyre Synod, Lilongwe Archdiocese and Livingstonia Synod in Malawi.
Written by Madalitso Mbendera, Communications & Advocacy Manager KGIS