STRATEGIES FOR OVERCOMING GIRL’S BARRIER IN EDUCATION IN PHALOMBE COMMUNITY
While girl education is widely recognized as a fundamental human right for every girl in Malawi, in practice, many girls in Phalombe District in the southern region of Malawi have been historically locked out of education systems. Minority girls face the greatest challenges. Their burdens are a unique intersection of discrimination based on traditional roles for women and endemic poverty. Most of these girls lives in very remote geographic locations, no school close to them and also poor quality environment (poor condition of building, overcrowding, lack of water or sanitation), often they have to travel great distances to the nearest school there by multiplying the risks to their personal security.
Direct and indirect costs of schooling like school fees, clothing and shoes and school books/supplies and also opportunity costs and child labour and work are the greatest barriers that prevent these girls in Phalombe community from accessing good education. Their families are very poor and they cannot meet direct costs to the children do not enroll or they drop out and also the parents cannot afford the loss income of labour contribution of their children. Another barrier is health-related related issues and HIV. Girls more likely to take care for family. Girls disproportionally affected by lack of skill-based health education. Higher vulnerability to HIV infection among school aged girls than boys in many countries. All these barriers have disadvantaged girl’s education in this community.
Government of Malawi through UNICEF intervened with possible incentive programs such as small scholarships, subsidies, food, school supplies and uniforms, micro enterprise programmes, school feeding programmes through strengthened partnerships and also media programme and motivational materials (posters, story books) and also parent-teacher associations to promote community and parental involvement in girls education. It is also empowering girls through scholarships and community partnerships for a better future for all girls in Phalombe community. There are scholarships offered to girls to attend colleges/universities/vocational schools as their interest allows, helping their poor families.