Group Village Headwoman (GVH), Siwinda of the area of Senior Chief Kayembe, has appealed to TAMA Farmers Trust to supply more washing hands buckets amid novel coronavirus pandemic to the schools of her area because they have large enrolment of learners.
GVH Siwinda, whose real name is Emily Mkweche, said Dowa West constituency has three main education zones; Kayembe, Chisepo and Kamphenga saying Kayembe alone has 13 primary schools which the materials received from TAMA Farmers Trust could go to it leaving other zones with no bucket.
She said COVID-19 school closure has resulted to many girls in the area entering into early and child marriages and others are pregnant, a clear indication that not all girls will make it into schools as announced by Government that schools and colleges will be open on Monday, 7th September, 2020.
Speaking when she officially received the COVID-19 buckets from TAMA Farmers Trust to be distributed in schools for learners to wash hands, GVH Siwinda expressed hope that the company will supply more buckets saying the buckets were meant to go to TAMA depots and the company has preferred to distribute them in schools.
“We didn’t expect that TAMA Farmers Trust can come in COVID-19 interventions, the materials will be well secured by the schools for them to last long,” said GVH Siwinda.
Kayembe Primary school Deputy Head teacher, Stanley Mulongola, appealed to those who will be planning in the distribution of the buckets not to forget Chisepo zone schools for at least one or two schools to benefit from the donation of buckets.
Kayembe ward councilor, Gift Songeya, said the distribution of the buckets will face a strong challenge in the area basing on school enrolment, expressing hope that receiving a little is better than nothing.
Songeya said Dowa West is a tobacco growing area where child labour is most common saying the campaign against child labour in tobacco estates has grown fruits that all children are going to school.
In his remarks, ECLT of Geneva, Switzerland national consultant in Malawi, Andrew Namakhoma thanked TAMA Farmers Trust for their interest of assisting farmers not knowing that the project will go down to schools.
Namakhoma assured the communities surrounding Chief Kayembe that talks are still in progress between ECLT and TAMA Farmers Trust on how best they can assist the Malawi communities in the management of COVID-19, appealing to the communities to work hand in hand with the NGO partners to ensure that all girls return to school for the area not to lag behind in girl child developments.
TAMA Farmers Trust Head of Operations, Sam Kasambara, appealed to tobacco growers in the area not to let children work in the industry, but encouraging them to go to school with assurance that they will be free from COVID-19 as they will be washing their hands before and after classes, and the farmers to continue following the precautionary measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.