The United States government plans to invest USD 90 Million for construction of secondary school classrooms with a goal of keeping girls in school and reducing high HIV prevalence rate among youths in Malawi.
US Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer said this on the sidelines of a national symposium on youth sexual reproductive health rights held in Lilongwe recently.
“The US government will spend this money in the next five years and the amount is enough to transform lives of many children by accommodating them in secondary schools,” Palmer said.
The financial assistance follows the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial task force for adolescent girls and young women education strategy by President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika in December last year.
Palmer said her country is working with the Malawi government in programmes promoting adolescent and girl-child education.
“We want children to complete every level of education so that they can delay marriage, delay sexual debut, graduate and be successful. I believe if Malawi can keep all its children and adolescent girls in secondary and be a model for Africa,” she said adding that this will also help in reducing their risks to HIV infection.
Palmer said it is worrying that the cycle of the infection is involving most young girls who get HIV from older partners and in turn infect their young counterparts when married.
She said programmes like the adolescent and girl-child education can help break the cycle of the epidemic.
Palmer expressed optimism that Malawi will be committed to embark on the whole-of-girl-approach which the US government has started to work on which entails taking care of the needs of the girl in multiple facets.
The National Youth Council of Malawi was the organizer of the national symposium dubbed “Coordination of Adolescents and Youth Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and HIV Programmes in Malawi.”