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Female Education in Malawi

Organisation: CAMFED
Location: Malawi
Project: Mentor scheme and pupil bursaries

Malawi is one of the most stable countries in Africa, yet it is also one of the least developed in the world. A total of 85% of those living in poverty live in rural areas, and a higher percentage is women. The proportion of poor households is higher in the southern region where Camfed programmes are based.

Long distances to the closest school, and high secondary school fees provide formidable barriers for children to enrol in and complete school. These challenges are magnified for those living in rural areas, as family poverty levels are even higher and schools are fewer and further between. In 2007, only 14% of rural girls managed the transition to secondary school compared to 58% of their urban peers.

The average dropout for girls is high. This is in part due to increases in HIV/AIDS, which has made a significant demand on the labour of the girl-child at the household level, and on other factors including: increases in early marriages and pregnancies; poor physical and sanitary conditions; increases in gender-based violence in rural areas; and sexual harassment of girls by male teachers and fellow students.

Camfed is a world leader in supporting female education in the developing world and through Camfed the Adsum Foundation has funded bursaries for 80 schoolgirls and 66 teacher mentors have been trained to provide psycho social support for girls in each school.