High enrollment rate of girls who were at risk of dropping-out of school has been registered for the past three years in Malawi’s central region district of Ntcheu.
The number has risen from 8992 learners in 2014 to 11,623 in 2017.
This follows phasing out of Keeping Girls in School (KGIS) project implemented by the CCAP of Blantyre Synod in the district,
The project was implemented with funding from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) through Save the Children.
All the 18 educational zones in the district benefited from the project which had two components of school experience targeting both primary and secondary learners as well as cash transfer targeting standard 7 and 8 learners.
Speaking to Capital FM, Ntcheu District Education Monitoring Information System Officer reveals that involvement of all education stakeholders has contributed to the rise in figures.
Godfrey Kayamba Nkadzanja stated the approach taken by the project to involve mother groups, parents and teachers leaves a lot to be desired since it has boosted status of girl’s education in the district.
Nkadzanja stressed that enrollment of boys and girls is always the same in lower classes but when it goes to higher classes the numbers tend to differ with most girls dropping-out.
“KGIS has managed to break the barriers that always resulted to girls in dropping-out of school when they are in senior classes than in junior classes.”
“And issues to do with menstrual periods, early marriages are among common challenges that affect girl’s education hence they prefer to drop out rather than stay in school,” Nkadzanja explained.
KGIS Cash Transfer Project Manager for Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) an organization among consortium implementing the project expressed gratitude on the success registered in the district.
Geoffrey Kamanga said, “We faced a number of challenges in which some local leaders were not working hand in hand with structures we trained in a bid to sustain girls education.
“But after involving Traditional Chiefs, the situation improved and currently there is a good working relationship which is an achievement to the project.”
Kamanga then expressed hope that though the project is phasing out, trained structures will continue with the work on the ground so as to improve girl’s education in the country.
Apart from CRECCOM a consortium of Education Commission of Archdiocese of Lilongwe, CCAP Livingstonia Synod and FAWEMA were also implementing the project in other districts across the country.
These districts are Lilongwe, Salima and Mchinji in the central region and Karonga and Mzimba in northern region of Malawi respectively.
The project which had two components of school experience and cash transfer was targeting primary school girls from standard 7 and 8 as well as those in form 1 and 2 in secondary schools in all the targeted districts.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that cash transfer component which provide incentives to primary schools learners especially girls from standard 7-8 inform of money will continue up until August 2017.
Currently benefiting learners receives cash via Airtel Money platform amounting to MK8,000 per school term to use and buy basic necessities hence sustaining their education.
And apart from Ntcheu, Blantyre Synod was also implementing the project in Zomba, Mangochi, Chikhwawa and Nsanje district respectively.