Empower girls with education
Education empowersLack of education, especially among girls, has costly consequences. They are unable to make informed decisions regarding – among other issues – their reproductive health and child health. That is why a lot of health issues that arise are blamed on witchcraft and each day that they spend sick translates into lost productivity around the house and in their fields. Lack of a proper education means that if they are lucky enough to get a job, it will be a menial one where they are likely to be financially exploited.
No role modelsThe girl child in most instances lacks a role model that they can relate to. All her aunties and cousins dropped out of school and married early. There is no one to encourage her. She is told that if she becomes too educated the young men in the village will feel intimidated to date her. The role models that drive out of town to events in rural areas are seen as just that, town folk on a day trip to flaunt their achievements.
The role of educationNormally schools in rural areas of the country are few and far apart. They lack teaching materials and sometimes teachers. And because the girl has to carry out household chores first, she normally arrives at school late. She has either missed out on classes or is barred from entering them all together on account of her late coming. After school, as soon as she gets back home she has work waiting for her. She rarely has time to study. According to the 2015-2016 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey, more girls than boys are attending primary school. However only 23% of girls proceed to secondary school compared to a third of the boys. Post-secondary school, the number of girls who attend school drops to only 3%.
What is the fix?Culture is one way. The thinking that education beyond primary school is not necessary for a girl is outdated and dangerous. Women play an extremely vital role in the community and being uneducated has serious ramifications to society. Fixing the sometimes non-functioning education system is another way. Remunerating teachers and providing adequate learning materials is key. This help both boys and girls get a decent education. By educating both, you build a society where every member of society values the importance of attaining a level of quality education. There are plenty other ways to ensure that the girl child’s right to education is guaranteed. If we do not priorities fixing these issues, the story of Fyness will be continuously repeated for decades to come. Happy International Day of the Girl! #JusticeForGirls #GirlsSpkOut #IDG2017 This blog post was featured on the UNICEF Malawi blog
To receive a monthly roundup of stories from the #LifeUnbound blog and other gems subscribe below.