Malawi CSOs reiterate call for increased financing to education

Civil society organisations (CSOs) in Malawi on Monday jointly launched the 2021 Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) while reiterating their call to government and development partners to increase financing to the education sector to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education.
The CSOs that held a press conference in the capital Lilongwe, among others, include; Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), Save the Children, Action Aid Malawi and NGO Coalition on Child Rights.

CSEC executive director, Benedicto Kondowe
They said their call for “urgent action for education financing” underscores the fact that “the promise of accessible, equitable, quality, inclusive and relevant education cannot be realized in Malawi without proper investment especially amidst the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Reads in part a statement the CSOs jointly issued on Monday: “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the education of more than one billion children across the World and has aggravated the existing global education financing crisis. This has upended the education sector and greatly threatened the progress of the entire Sustainable Development Agenda and specifically Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4)”.
Adding his voice on the statement, CSEC executive director, Benedicto Kondowe, emphasized that Malawi needs to invest more in education to ensure that the country, among other important things, reduces its literacy rate which he said is “the lowest in the Southern Africa Development Community region”.
“Much as Covid-19 has affected the economy, the failure by the government to provide more resources to the education sector has far reaching consequences that would be irreparable in future years.
Meeting in progress

“We need to create more opportunities because, currently, we know that the girl child is affected, children with disabilities are affected, the rural communities are marginalized due to absence of resources. Therefore, the call for meaningful and more finances is critical in making sure that we deal with the issue of equity which is very important,” said Kondowe, a renowned education activist.

He was flanked by Aisha Kabungwe from ActionAid Malawi, Lexon Ndalama from Save the Children and Leon Matanda from NGO Coalition on Child Rights.
Kondowe added that the CSOs will be engaging ministers of education and finance, development partners and other key players in what he described as “high level policy discussions”.
“The whole idea is to have a proper policy conversation in terms of how best we can mobilize resources to education amidst Covid-19. We need alternative sources of financing education beyond traditional means such as the national budget. This is critical in terms of leveraging resources for we know that the national budget is competitive and, therefore, unlikely that the education sector would be given all the resources it requires,” he said.
Kondowe further said there must be what he termed as “innovative financing models” that would help Malawi generate additional resources outside the education budget which he said have “a good potential” to transform the country’s education sector if meaningfully utilized.
This year’s GAWE will be celebrated under the theme: Education Financing, in-line with the Policy Framing of the One Billion Voices Campaign.
According to the CSOs statement, the theme “perfectly” aligns with their stance that the government and the international community should ensure more and better financing of education, especially in this period of the Covid-19 pandemic which has “affected the education of almost six million children in Malawi”.
The CSOs say they have lined up “quite a number of very important activities” to cerebrate the 2021 GAWE.
The activities, among others, include; press briefings, live phone in radio programs and open days.

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