Norway PM launches K7.2bn project to support girls’ education in Malawi

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday launched a K7.2 billion project that provides a range of interventions to address key threats to girls’ education: poor food and nutrition, inadequate protection, poor-quality schooling and violations of girls’ sexual and reproductive rights.

The three project, which will run under the banner Improving Access and Quality of Education for Girls in Malawi, is wholly funded by Norway and supported by other international organisations such as UNICEF, UNFPA and World Food Programme (WFP).

The districts of Dedza, Salima and Mangochi will be among the first in which the project will be implemented.

Solberg posing with Malawian girls
Solberg posing with Malawian girls

Norwegian ambassador to Malawi Asbjorn Eidhammer, Education Minister Dr Emmanuel Fabiano and UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo signs the agreement at Nthuli Primary School in Dedza on Wednesday.

Eidhammer said education is key to fighting poverty and that his government believes educating girls “is the single most powerful investment for development.”

He said: “ When you educate a girl, you educate a nation.”

Eidhammer hailed President Peter Mutharika’s personal engagement and his Government’s commitment to educating the young.

“Norway will work together with Malawi to ensure quality education for all,” he assured.

Getting girls to stay in school remains a major challenge in Malawi.

According to Government of Malawi figures, only 27 percent of girls complete primary education. Boys, on the other hand, perform better than girls in mathematics and reading, and are more likely to embark on post-primary education.

Only half of Malawian girls aged 15-24 are literate. Gender parity now stands at 1:1 in the lower primary school grades but disparities emerge as early as standard 4, with girls dropping out before they acquire basic literacy skills and repeating years to a greater extent than boys.

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