Likuni Mothers' Group
The project Mothers Group works in synergy with the program Open School launched at Likuni Boys’ Secondary School in Lilongwe with the aims of avoiding girl’s dropout and raising awareness on girl’s education among the local community.
Existing data shows that 5 million children are enrolled in primary schools in Malawi, but only 400,000 in secondary. The majority of girls are out of secondary school: only 14.9 percent of adult females obtain at least a secondary education, compared to 24.2 percent of males. The number of secondary schools in the country cannot meet the growing need for education especially among the youthful population. Confronted with the harsh reality of the rural area of Likuni, Likuni Boys’ Secondary School introduced the initiative of opening school facilities to all members of the surrounding community, with lessons taking place either in afternoon or in evening time. Classes are open to everybody and students can use some of the infrastructures of the school: soccer or sport fields, laboratories, library, safe and gender-segregated latrines, access to safe drinking water and teaching and learning materials. Women and girls continue to face multiple barriers based on gender, such as harmful and wrongful gender stereotyping, child marriage and early and unintended pregnancy, gender-based violence against women and girls.
Mothers can be important agents of change, with the capacity to enhance awareness and using their voices, leadership and influence to make progress for girls’ education.
The project of Likuni Mothers’ Group works then on 3 main objectives:
– Bring back to school the girls who have abandoned for many reasons. Particularly, in cooperation with the local Authority for Child Protection and with the families, they are engaged in preventing the traditional practice of early marriages or assisting the girls to go back to school;
– Prevent the girls’ school dropout through a work of screening and accompaniment of the students at risk;
– Make public awareness in the schools and communities about the importance of education and access to education for girls, involving local authorities and NGOs.
In order to that, the project also provides the training for the members of the Mothers Group in communication and advocacy skills so to make them able to implement an effective work and interact with the different stakeholders in the area.
Part of the Mothers group is formed by women who when they were adolescents abandoned the school and who now have restarted their studies thanks for the Open School program. They experimented the obligatory choice to leave the school and don’t want their daughters and new generations do the same.
Project main figures:
480 girls of the Open School are having direct support from the Mothers Group
439 boys of the Open School are benefitting from the advocacy activity especially in relation to gender sensitivity, rights of all children and the value of offering equal education opportunity to all
30 women in the Mothers group are enhancing their capacities that are applied also for their benefit and the benefit of their children.
6,000 people, especially women and girl children, of the local community are benefitting of the attitudinal change, the availability of the program for bringing back to school, some services from the skills center and general activities of the Mother Group.