It is a well known fact that many girls across the globe and in Malawi are vulnerable and subjected to abuse than their male counterparts. Many girls in Malawi particularly in rural areas are forced into early marriages to raise their families social needs because of poverty .Some are forced to do so because of some cultural practices just to mention a few.
Whereas government and some Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) are trying their level best to fight girl defilement, rape and early school drop outs, the malpractices continues to take a center stage in Malawi.
It is for these reason that the African Network for the Protection and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) Malawi Chapter embarked on a three year project called “Thinking Future Keeping Girls in School” to encourage girls to remain in school.
Marie Vauban Program Manager for the project said that the aim of the project is to ensure that girls understand the importance of going to school because it is important for their future.
Vauban said that the project started in January this year in primary schools and is being extended to secondary schools to raise awareness about their future and the danger of dropping out of school early.
“Our target is to reach out to girls in 24 schools per year and we will increase depending on the availability of resources. So far 85 girls have already being reached out in different schools in Blantyre, Mulanje and Chikwawa.
“We do not train only the girls but also teachers and Traditional Leaders because they are the people that can help girls to remain in school. As of now 25 teachers have also being trained in three different schools in the districts that l have mentioned,” She said.
ANPPCAN Malawi Chapter Program Manager added that apart from raising awareness among girls on the importance of furthering their education they also advocate on issues about HIV/AIDS, Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH).
The project intends to reach out to as many as 720 girls and is expected to be extended to other districts depending on the availability of resources according to Vauban.
So far a 19 year old girl who dropped out school in the southern district of Mulanje at the age of 13 has returned back to school after her husband dumped her and another 16 year old girl in Chikwawa who has a two year child has also returned back to school with support from ANPPCAN Malawi Chapter.
ANPPCAN is a Pan-African network that promotes child rights and child protection in Africa. It was founded in 1986 in Enugu, Nigeria at the first labour conference. The organization has national chapters in 26 African countries and their Head quarter is in Nairobi Kenya.
Its mission is to enhance, in partnership with others the protection of children from all forms of maltreatment, thus ensuring that the rights of children are realized.
ANPPCAN Malawi Chapter is also a member of Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) an umbrella body of 97 civil society organizations which ANPPCAN is a board member.