Project in brief
The project aims at preventing the spread of Covid 19 and the negative effects of the lockdown, such as gender-based violence and children dropping out of school, through communication and awareness campaigns, online learning support and scholarships for girls in special need.
Communities in rural areas like Likuni and Balaka are not well-informed about Covid 19, how it spreads, and preventative measures to take because of limited access to the internet/mobile phone network, and as such they remain vulnerable to the virus spread. During the lockdown, there are more women and girls victims of violence and abuses. Child rape went up by 150 per cent and the number of girls marrying early worsened dramatically as a result of the school closures and rise in poverty linked to the coronavirus outbreak. In 6 months, teenagers’ pregnancies in Likuni and Balaka numbered 7,440. Initiatives to offer continuing education to students while they are at home only targets regular students but not those in informal education.
For all these reasons many students became vulnerable and at risk of dropping out of school.
Aim of the project
To ensure that the population of Likuni and Balaka is properly informed about Covid 19.
The project supports a communication campaign through poster messages, roadshows, and meetings of influential people in the community. The campaign ensures that correct and appropriate COVID-19 messages reach the local population and encourages them to take appropriate prevention measures.
Linked to the Covid campaign, awareness campaigns dealing with gender-based violence, early childhood marriages, and the high school drop-out rate of girls are implemented using radio messages, posters, meetings of influential people in the community, and training of students for peer-to-peer awareness. The members of local Girls Empowerment Clubs and Mothers groups act as facilitators. The project also makes available 18 scholarships for girls who have married early, are pregnant and most in need.
To ensure that students at the Marist Open informal Schools of Likuni and Balaka continue their education and not drop out of school, the project provided online learning support and a virtual library through a system of mobile phones.
Project main figures
8 communities and 26.400 of people properly informed about Covid 19 and measures to take
5 communities and 25.877 people reached by awareness activities against gender-based violence
and early marriages
122 girls directly contacted by peer-to-peer activity
18 girls in need benefited from scholarships
15 community influencers received a one-day training and 24 students (boys and girls) received training in peer counselling
1240 open school students currently have access to the virtual library and online teaching
1000 students received anti covid items
SDG goals: 4, 5, 8, 10
Laudato Si’ goals: 2