The Chinansi Foundation

Education

Education is a right as such attending/accessing education is an entitlement every human being should enjoy regardless of where that being is and/or under what circumstances. Globally it has been agreed that some goals be set to ensure that accessibility of this right is done universally and that governments should commit themselves to achieving them. Education for All [EFA] goals was put to make a bench mark. Despite these commitments still education faces many challenges like lack of infrastructures [learning environment], in adequate and under qualified human resources and above all lack of attention during the budgetary allocations by governments. Malawi is a signatory to the Education for All   and ratified the EFA goals .However except the commitment to achieve this; the education system still lacks the vigor as generally education conditions are not quite impressive.

capacity building of smallholder farmers

Poor infrastructure development, in adequate human resources and low attention on the budgetary allocations are among the major problems the education sector is facing. Another contributing factor to this is the attitude and traditions of people towards education. Cultural practices marred by abject poverty influence communities to force their children into child labor and early marriages as such there are many teenage mothers who were supposed to be in schools but are currently out. in many cultures mostly south  and eastern part of Malawi, children are taught sexual lessons during initiations [Jando and Kuvinidwa] during such activities young people as young as 12 years are forced to practice sexual intercourse and this has increased the HIV/AIDS transmission rate among the rural communities. The engagement into early marriages has fueled school drop outs, poverty and crime rate as well. The resultant of this has been increases in orphans which out of the projected 14 million people 10 % are orphans mostly caused by the HIV/AIDS.

The Action Aid Malawi Research 2008 in which CHINANSI was a part indicated a high percentage of school drop outs in Machinga District that share similar cultures and boundaries with Balaka .Some of the factors contributing to this are due to parental forces that result into early marriages. At Mkwepere School a 12 year old STD 7 girl was forced by her parents to marry a widower who had a motor cycle and the family thought the widower would help alleviate their poverty. As a result this young girl got married to this man and sooner she tested positive and died during delivery. Such cases are just numerous and without interventions by education players, access to quality education, attainment of the right to education and indeed enjoying the right to education will be a far fetched dream.

It is against this background that CHINANSI would like to implement the Improved Access to Girl Child Education [IAGE].The project aims at contributing towards access to improved education for girls and encourage a go back to school campaign for teenage mothers. In the project CHINANSI shall sensitize the communities the need to educate girls and send teenage mothers back to school.

It was unbearable, I never thought that going into early marriage was more serious and dangerous as I proved it to be” Said the grief stricken Felista Samilan a teenage mother who at 16 was forced into early marriage. “Thanks to CHINANSI I can now rekindle my future after going through that terrible situation” says she.Felistas was forced into marriage and dropped in Form II. But courtesy of CHINANSI programme of Go Back to School, this teenage mother is among the 5 who have since returned to school. Her dream of becoming a nurse will near bear fruits. “I want to become a Nurse so that I can assist many people but also become a role model among teenage mothers who had similar experience like mine -Victims of Early Marriages”.CHINANSI a member of the Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education [CSCQBE] also trains School Management Committees [SMCs] and Parents Teachers Associations [PTAs] in School Governance, Budget Monitoring and Tracking and Lobbying and Advocacy. We believe communities can only participate effectively if they are well trained and are equipped with requisite skills and knowledge.