Mary Coles, long-time supporter of MMF, was one of our representatives at an event in Blantyre, Scotland with Her Excellency Monica Chakwera during COP26.
Mary reports: “I found it a friendly, open and positive atmosphere and felt strongly that the work of MMF is highly focused but in close alignment with the aims of the First Lady’s foundation. I learned a lot from the presentation with its emphasis on Community Day schooling, and on mentoring arrangements to sustain girls in secondary schooling and through to tertiary education. I now have a deeper understanding of the socio/economic and cultural factors which Shaping our Future Foundation and MMF are working to counteract. The relevance of a focus on sexual health and well being in the context of poverty, teenage pregnancies/marriages and violence against women and girls is so much clearer to me now. The First Lady’s speech emphasised how mothers can be key in fighting for opportunities for their daughters and garnering the resources to sustain them through schooling. Also how important it can be to encourage girls back into schooling and later back into work/teaching/health roles after early childbearing.”
In later discussion with the First Lady, it became apparent to what extent the pandemic has set back progress as girls were not in the safer school environment and much more at risk of greater deprivation and violence – getting them back into school is proving challenging.
All of this reinforces for me that the ways MMF works in identifying need and meeting wider needs including menstrual health etc. and encouraging those previously helped to take on mentoring roles is the right focus.”