Ending Gender Inequality and Girl Child Marginalization in Malomo

Involved alumni:

The challenge that the project addresses

Gender inequality and gender based violence are commonplace but silently epidemic in Malomo community, Ntchisi district. Currently existing laws governing the rights of each member of the family is not user-friendly or tailor-made for remotely rural and illiterate women, let alone easily accessible. As a result they enable the subordination of women and girls. In 2019 under the influence of Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM), the school administration created a group composed of women called Malomo Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) Mothers Group as an extra layer of support to the community’s School Management Committee (SMC) and PTA to support girls schooling. As Deputy Headmaster for Malomo Community Day Secondary School, I oversee the activities of this Mothers Group. This group’s main objectives include using every effort to bring dropout girls back to school, mentoring, guiding and counselling girls, and mobilising community support for girl’s education. The women are from surrounding 33 villages, most of whom are functionally illiterate. The group does several fundraising activities such as farming and sewing in an effort to raise financial support for needy girls to complete their secondary education.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

Ensuring that all girls are in school and happily learning is critical to protecting them from early marriage and reducing their vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence. I have just graduated this year from Master of Laws with specialization in women and the law and international rights of the child. My project aims at enhancing gender equality through empowering and equipping rural women and girls with practical knowledge of the law as productive women in their own society. To effectively step down the knowledge and skills acquired from my law studies of human rights of women law and children’s rights law and to heavily contribute to the mindset change in people of my society, I arrange and coordinate training sessions for Malomo Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) Mothers Group to equip them with the necessary knowledge of the law as women in their own society so that they report and counteract even the hidden-unnoticed household vices which retard progress in helping continuous academic engagement for our girls

Describe the project's impact

The project constitutes Malomo CDSS Women’s Groups as a primary strategy of developing and enhancing the capacity of women to be active members and vigilant in their communities in every aspect of girls’ lives. By the end of this project, all key stakeholders will become competent in identifying and reporting any early child marriage and anything which negatively affect girls schooling. There will be equal voice and power in families: cultural and traditional beliefs and practices in the families which are less recognized as harming and undermining women’s voices will be exposed, shamed and ended.

How will you spend the R20,000 award if you win?

This money R20,000 will be a great boost to the activities of Malomo Women’s Group: I will use part of this money to translate and print key messages in the Gender Equality Act, National Gender Policy and Domestic Violence Act into local dialect (Chichewa) booklets and distribute to women for their better understandings and use (creation of Family Law advocacy materials / booklets) With this money, I will conduct at least five capacity building training sessions for women on the laws governing family life: Family Law governing rights of women and girls Half of this money will be given to the Malomo Women Group to boost their activities in raising revenues to raise funds for helping needy girls in Malomo. Some will be used to publish newspaper articles on activities of Malomo CDSS Women’s Group.

What do you hope to achieve?

  1. I want to pass on the knowledge of family law which I gained in my Masters course. By the end of next year, the local women in Malamo community should be able to identify, expose and shame the hidden-unseen community and familial norms which silently negate the promotion of girl child education.
  2. I hope to reduce the gender divide in access to relevant existing legal framework on gender equality and women empowerment at every tier of decision making at community level.
  3. Violence against women and girls (VAWG) will significantly reduced.
  4. I hope to significantly improve attitudes, perceptions and behaviours in Malomo with regard to women’s and girls’ rights and gender equalities.