The Forum for African Women Educationists in Malawi (FAWEMA) has taken an extensive drive to curb girl-child school absenteeism by supporting girls’ education and construction of washrooms in primary schools under Star School Model project.
FAWEMA is implementing the project that has seen girls modern washrooms constructed at Mchuchu, Kalumbu and Mwatibu Primary Schools in central region, in partnership with Education Expertise Development Foundation (EEDF) with funding from Edukans Foundation from Netherlands.
FAWEMA Project Officer, Wales Chigwenembe disclosed in an interview that the construction of the washrooms has created a more conducive learning environment especially for girl-child.
Chigwenembe said through Star School Model project, absenteeism would now be combated thereby increasing girls’ retention in the targeted schools.
Under the same project, the organization is training communities (mother groups, School Management Committees, Parent Teacher Associations) to actively participate in girls education.
“The project focuses on motivating and encouraging learners (particularly girls) to work hard in school, and eradicate absenteeism. But also directly mobilise the community stakeholders to support girls’ education in curbing drop-outs and to actively participate in school development projects,” explained Chigwenembe.
Chigwenembe added that under Star School Model, the institution was able to equip learners with speaking out skills and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Awareness through Tilankhule clubs.
He explained: “We have also trained 63 teachers from the three schools in Gender Responsive Pedagogy (GRP), where teachers were equipped with skills for gender responsive teaching; a kind of teaching which put learners at the centre to actively be involved in the learning process”.
FAWEMA is also motivating and inspiring learners (especially girls) to work hard and complete their education through Role modelling.
“We are currently building one girls washroom facility per school but it is our desire to lobby for more Resources and funding to increase the number of the washroom facilities. This year (2013/2014) we expect to scale-up the project to more schools”.
Head Teacher for Mchuchu primary school, Elizabeth Chimutu hailed FAWEMA for the girl centred development initiatives aimed at keeping the girls in school, saying the washroom would help eradicate absenteeism and shyness especially during girls’ menstrual periods.
EEDF is also implementing similar project at two primary schools in the northern region as well as in southern region particularly in Chikhwawa district.
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