Source: Nyasa Times
Various people plying different businesses around Kakoma in the area of Chief Chapananga in Chikwawa have been blamed for impregnating teenage girls consequently forcing most of them to drop out of school.
The assertions were leveled on Thursday during a final school quiz competition championed by Red Cross Malawi Chikwawa office in the two zones of Kakoma and Kalambo.
Speaking at the ceremony, Kakoma Zone Primary Education Advisor (PEA), Andrew Messa, who also represented Kalambo Zone said it was pathetic that the area is experiencing high dropouts of girls due to the fact that most business people were persuading girls to fall in love with them.
"It is very sad that most people doing various businesses around our area here are not responsible enough to protect the girl child. They are using the resources they have be it money or material things to coax most girls around here worse still they can't marry them when they fall pregnant," said Messa
He added that it was also a pity that most local leaders were involved in one way or the other in as far as girl child school dropout issues were concerned.
"We have the bylaws but they are not put into effective use because we entrusted the local leaders but some of them are also manipulating the girls into sexual relationships. We have an example here where a village headman impregnated a school girl and now she is out of school. How do we expect to move positively in enhancing girls' education in our communities like that?" bemoaned Messa
On his part, Group Village Headman (GVH) Chimphepo thanked Red Cross Chikwawa Office for implementing programs whose aims were to improve education standards.
"Parents lets be responsible by looking at what we have witnessed here today. Our children shined throughout the quiz competition and if this continues, we will have a better community with lower illiteracy levels in the near future," he said.
Moreover, he urged parents to desist from practicing negative cultural practices such as initiation ceremonies adding that there are some fathers who are fond of persuading the girl child into sexual activities instead of protecting them.
Chikwawa Red Cross, Projects Officer, Cecilia Banda who was also the guest of honor during the quiz competition said the competition was put in place in order to enhance education standards within the school zones.
"As Red Cross we will continue doing these activities once in a term and we wish to see a greater positive impact after we leave in 2019.
"Our organization promotes equal provision of education between girls as well as boys. It is these activities that enhance learners understanding of their class work as well as increasing competition in class," said Banda.
According to Charles Muyanika from the District Education Manger's (DEM's) Office, who also coordinated the quiz competition, over 10 primary schools within the two zones participated but only two made it through.
Kakoma Primary School learners scooped 50 points in the finals against Kanyongolo Primary School learners who got 26 points.
The winners went away with various prizes such as; school bags, exercise books, pens and cash.
By Steve Chirombo -Mana