Malawi’s First Lady Getrude Mutharika on Tuesday officially launched say no campaign to girl child to promote girls to complete education.

Speaking during the launch at St Maria Goretti Primary School in Lilongwe, Mutharika said the campaign encourages girls to say no to early marriages, sexual abuse and discrimination and violence.

“The country has made progress in the promotion of girl child education as a lot of strategies has been deployed.

“For the country to achieve these, the education act was reviewed, school feeding programmes were introduced in schools, various stakeholders are constructing sanitation facilities in schools and girls hostels are constructed in community day secondary school,” Mutharika explained.

She added that school feeding programmes reduced school drop outs as children have food in their schools and construction of girl’s hostels has shortened long distances girls used to travel to school.

Mutharika, however said despite the stride made, girl child continue to face challenges promoted by cultural practices that expose them to early sexual behaviors, extreme poverty, inadequate role models in the community they live, poor sanitation at schools which makes them to drop out of school.

“Long distances to school also affects girl child as they drop out of schools early. In addition heavy workload at household levels make them to be tired and fail to concentrate on their studies,” Mutharika said.

Speaking earlier Minister of Gender, Children Disability and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati said her ministry would work tirelessly to achieve the ensure that the aim of the campaign is achieved.
“The programme needs more funds to be fulfilled and we want all the girls to complete their education,” Kaliati said.

She further said the campaign will be done in pre and primary schools and it is targeting girls from the age of six to 13. During the whole period of the campaign, pupils will be given school bags and shoes with support from World Vision Malawi.

Head Teacher of St Maria Gorrete, Lucy Jenya Kamenya said the school is doing its best to allow girl child complete education.

“We maintain desks from standard one to eight so that all children sit on desks during class lessons. Not only that, we also make sure that all 22 vulnerable children are assisted according to their needs,” Kamenya said

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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