257 secondary school girls shine in 2022 Girls’ Empowerment Retreat Programme

By Staff Writer

At least 257 secondary school girlsirls across the country have benefited from Girls’ Empowerment Retreat Programme which aims at encouraging girls to work hard in schools and become self-reliant citizens in future.

The programme which was started by the first Malawi’s female President Joyce Banda enables girls to interact with their role models and share with them their academic dreams.

Speaking during the official closing ceremony for the 2022 programme’s session on Thursday June 9,2022 at African Bible College in Lilongwe which started on Monday June 6,2022, the Deputy Education Minister Monica Ching’anamuno expressed her excitement with the programme.

She said” I am very happy for the 257 girls from various secondary schools who have benefited from this mentorship program.

” I would like to congratulate Girls Secondary Education Trust and the Board of Trustees for organizing this retreat. This Retreat could not have come at this an opportune time than this one, when a number of challenges are obstructing girls from reaching their dreams.

” These challenges include poverty, dropping out due to early marriages, and teen pregnancies, declining in performance, dropping out of school and gender discrimination”‘.

Ching’anamuno disclosed that in the 2019/2020 Academic Year, a total of 21, 123 learners dropped out of secondary school of which 18,249 were females representing 63 percent.

She said a majority of girls dropped due to lack of school fees, pregnancies and early marriages, among other challenges.

The Deputy Minister said it is everyone’s duty to make sure that girls who drop out of school are brought back so that they complete education.

She said through the Readmission Policy, her Ministry is encouraging and ensuring that learners including girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy, return to school.

She said currently, the Ministry is working with its partners to assess the implementation of the policy so that they can identify gaps and find the best ways to implement it.

Ching’anamuno said the Ministry has also put in place structures such as Mother Groups to make sure that girls are able to go to school and finally graduate.

She said the other intervention is the provision of bursary by Government and its partners such as UNICEF, EU, Shaping our Future Foundation and CAMFED.

” In addition to that, Government and its partners are constructing girls’ hostels in a number of secondary schools across the country.

” For example, UNICEF through SPOTLIGHT Initiative is constructing hostels at Mpatsa and Magodi in Nsanje and Puteya in Machinga while Press Trust and Standard Bank are constructing a twin hostel at Lilongwe Girls Secondary School,” said Ching’anamuno.

Literature points out that Malawi has one of the highest school dropout rate in Southern Africa with 15 % of girls (three in every twenty) and 12 % of boys (three in every twenty-five), dropping out between Standard 5 and 8 of primary school.