As one way of preventing the number of girls dropping out of school due to monthly circles, the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment programme (GEWE) has managed to build over ten sanitary facilities in Mangochi alone.
With funding from European Union, the sanitary facilities, have improved the enrolment of girls by over 10 percent.
During a field tour to the district, the headmaster for St Ignacio Primary School, Felix Kafumbata said girls enrolment has moved from 400 to 670, making an increase of 270 girls.
“Since the programme started in 2013, that’s how many girls have managed to stay in school in T/A Bwana Nyambi alone. In addition we have also had a significant number of girls who have retained after falling pregnant,” he said.
According to Kafumbata, during the time when a girls is menstruating, that the time most girls absent themselves from school.
He further said in a term, girls are absent from school for at least 28 days excluding normal absenteeism.
“So if one puts all the days together, you will see that its many days. This in the end becomes difficult for the girls to catch up and they end up quitting school. But with the sanitary facilities, these girls are able to help themselves without feeling shy because the way the toilets can carry three people privately,” he said.
GEWE project was being spearheaded by ministry of gender, children, disability and social welfare in conjunction with UNFPA.
The project came to an end on 18th May after three years of running.