Malawi Interfaith Aids Association (MIAA) with funding from United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) under the Girls Education and Women Empowerment (GEWE) on Wednesday donated a multi-million kwacha secondary school block and 152 desks to communities of T/A Makanjila in Salima.
The newly opened Nakaleza Secondary School will help reduce distances learners used to walk to surrounding schools.
The area has had no secondary school since independence, a situation which forced most students to travel over 40 kilometres to find a nearby school and others dropping out of school.
MIAA Executive Director Robert Ngaiyaye said lack of a secondary school in the area was a major stumbling block towards promotion of girl’s education and women empowerment.
“The donation is part of GEWE’s aim of reducing gender inequalities between women, men, girls and boys in accessing productive resources and development opportunities as well as promoting decision making in order to contribute positively to Malawi growth and development strategy,” he said.
The Executive Director expressed hope that the school block will help to eliminate child marriages in the area saying it was built on demand by the community’s desire to eliminate some of the challenges being faced including child marriages.
Speaking in an interview T/A Makanjila said that the donation was a welcome development in the area as it will improve quality of education in the area.
“We were failing to produce results academically because learners were dropping out of school after completing standard 8 because of the long distance they were traveling; the school will reduce child marriages as girls will always be busy with education,” he said.
Principal Secretary for Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare Dr Mary Shaba said one of the main features for the GEWE project was to provide information and infrastructure to the communities.
She added, “We have renovated courts in the rural areas, in some of the places we have installed solar system, we have built health centres and many other things, our main aim is to encourage education.”
Shaba said her ministry has since negotiated with GEWE 2 which is to come next year to develop projects like these.
The new secondary school has a capacity of 100 and is currently offering lessons to form 1 while form 2 class is expected to open next year.
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