Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Shyrene Kossam
My community is a rural growth point which is located in Dedza District. Similar to many other districts across the country of Malawi there is a high level of poverty, early marriages, teenage pregnancies, and rate of illiteracy mostly among female counterparts due to an increased school dropout rate. The community’s environment is also limiting and a constraint to the development of a girl child.
I have learned that the main cause of many issues affecting the girl child is deeply rooted in the fact that the level of poverty in my community is very high. Many households are headed by single parents, who in most cases are women, who have been left by their husbands to immigrate in search of green pastures. As a result, the women are left to take care of the household and in turn, push their responsibilities to the girl child. There is also a lot of polygamy and extended families which results in the husband not to be responsible for their families.
Teenage pregnancy is also a big problem in my area, preventing girls from obtaining good education, enjoying optimal health, bonding with others of their own age, maturing, and choosing life partners capable of taking care of them. This results in school dropout among girls with untold consequences of their future lives. In the future this will be the cause of poor parenting divorce, and population growth in their families, as well as in the community. This behavior is more of a cycle in the community.
However, these challenges are being solved through the “go back to school” campaign. Measures have been put in place to develop a girl child through youth groups and different organizations like the Hunger Project and CorpsAfrica, that help to sensitize girls on issues concerning reproductive health, entrepreneurship, family planning, and career talks both in schools and the community at large.