Mothers Groups and the Challenge of Girls Education

January 9, 2024
Community Updates, Latest News

In Malawi, women and girls face various extreme barriers such as child marriage, harmful gender stereotyping and gender-based violence. One of the biggest disadvantages they face lies within education.

The Malawi Education Ministry has discovered that the biggest reasons for the increasing educational dropout rate for girls is due to sexual violence, poverty and lack of basic menstrual necessities. Due to familial economic situations, many girls are married off at a very early age in hopes of gaining wealth or receiving help economically from the husband. Additionally, with the high rates of sexual violence, young girls are often forced through pregnancy to leave their education behind. 

Understanding this, the Ministry of Education has driven the establishment of “Mothers Groups” in Schools communities.

Typically these are groups of 6-8 women who meet regularly to discuss issues around needy children and especially girls. The Mothers groups influence young girls in feminine issues such as marriage and childbearing. They engage in preventing early childhood marriages, ensuring young girls safely arrive at school and providing guidance in resisting societal pressures to drop out. They can go as far as helping bring justice to survivors of sexual crimes. 

In Mikuyu the Mothers group provide pastoral care to Girls and important guidance to their Parents. 

In 2022 the Mothers group proposed that MST provide “ start up funding” for a scheme to generate funds for a bursary and SRHE programme in the School. MST provided £150 in 2022 to enable the Group to rent 1ha of land and purchase Soya seeds to begin soya farming. 

In the first year the Group produced 400kg of soya seed valued at £170. This supported over 10 children with Bursaries and provided an additional 14 learners with stationary. 

The work of the Mothers Group in Malawi continues to develop. In 2022 they started the  manufacture of reusable sanitary pads for the Girls in the community. 

And now that the Mothers  group have bicycles (donated by WBR)  they can access the remote villages, 10kms from Mikuyu.

Mothers Groups provide a vital source of insight for MST and we will respond to their requests for support in confidence that they will use funding effectively to help Girls stay in school.

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