GENET drills 55 teachers on girl child protection in Dowa

As one way of empowering girls in school in the country, one of the country’s renowned nongovernmental organizations, Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) has drilled 55 male and female teachers from 35 primary schools in girl child protection in Dowa district.

DC for Dowa Alex Mdoko speaking at the workshop organised by Girls Empowerment Network at Mponela in Dowa District on Wednesday

GENET programs officer, Twambilile Kayuni speaking at the workshop organised in Dowa District on Wednesday

Speaking in an interview on Wednesday at the close of a two-day workshop at Mponera, GENET programs officer, Twambilile Kayuni said their organization thought it wise to drill the teachers as they spend more time with pupils.

“As GENET we thought it crucial to impart knowledge to teachers on how they can handle Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) cases, child protection and case management strategies, after we noticed that teachers spend over 80 percent of their time everyday with learners,” said Kayuni.

She added that teachers who have been trained are matrons and patrons for Ant Sexual Gender Based Violence clubs which GENET introduced in 35 primary schools in areas of Traditional Authority Kayembe and Chakhaza in Dowa district aimed to promote girl child education.

Kayuni said the teachers have also been equipped with roles and policies of safeguarding rights of girls and their education.

According to the programs officer, GENET was established in 2008 under the vision and mission to amplify the voice of the girls in order to claim and defend their own rights.

She said the organization is mainly aimed at forming girls’ networks which she said promote and expose rights of girls in schools and communities in the country.

Kayuni said GENET has introduced different projects in Dowa, Phalombe and Nkhata Bay which include; ‘Improved girls access to Sexual Reproductive Health Information’, ‘Girls not brides’, ‘Marriage not child’s play’ and ‘ The enabling girls to challenge gender based violence’ project.

The organization is also working on a project called ‘The Improved Secondary School in Malawi project’ which is mainly focusing on providing bursaries to needy students in eight Community Day Secondary Schools in the areas of Traditional Authority Msakambewa and Chakhaza in Dowa district.

She urged the government of Malawi to employ more female teachers in schools noting that female teachers act as role models to girls in schools.

In his remarks, District Commissioner for Dowa district, Alex Mdooko said GENET has done great things that will help protect children particularly girls in schools around Dowa district.

“I surely appreciate what GENET has done in drilling teachers here in Dowa on strategies which will enable them to properly protect children in schools and in societies at large by mainly focusing on girls as they are the most vulnerable of gender based violence,” said Mdooko.

However, he warned teachers who engage in sexual relationships with girls saying such teachers if found would be disciplined and slapped with severe punishment.

Mdooko said there is a need for community members, teachers and parents to join hands in order to support GENET in promoting girls education.

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