The Mamie Martin Fund supports the secondary education of girls in schools in North Malawi. In the first video below, Mercy Sibande explains why this work is so important.
We provide money for school fees for girls who have gained a place at one of our partner schools, but who cannot afford to the fees. In 2021 we are supporting 139 girls across six schools. Here, one of those who was helped by us, tells us about our current work.
While Malawi has made great improvements in girls’ education over the last two decades, closing gender gaps in basic education, many adolescent girls fail to complete secondary education, dropping out before Form 4 and their national examinations: for every 100 boys in upper secondary, only 68 girls are enrolled. Social pressures compounded by school-related costs impact on girls’ ability to complete their education, with girls from the poorest households at the greatest risk of dropout.
Education, especially for disadvantaged girls, is an important catalyst in progress towards women’s empowerment and a more gender-just society. Keeping girls in school and – providing access to quality, inclusive education – can have powerful multiplier effects. Educated girls and young women not only have greater opportunities to fulfil their own potential, but can be powerful role models in their homes and communities, can challenge expectations for their role in society and make informed decisions about the health of themselves and their families. Recent research from Malawi shows that girls in school are less likely to experience violence and are at lower risk of child marriage and early and unintended pregnancy.
Secondary schooling is not free in Malawi. Currently, the annual school fees for each girl at a boarding school are £350. This cover tuition, boarding and textbook fees. Boarding schools in Malawi are not ‘elite’ – they are a necessary part of educational provision in terms of distance and personal safety of pupils. The fees at Mchengautuba CDSS are lower, £50.00 each year because it is a Government Community Day School.
Numbers and places
In 2021 (the school year starts in January this year because of the Covid closure of 2020), the Mamie Martin Fund supports 139 girls as follows:
- 44 girls at Bandawe Girls’ Secondary School
- 42 girls at Karonga Girls’ Secondary School
- 24 girls at Elangeni Secondary school
- 7 girls at Embangweni School for the Deaf
- 6 girls at St Mary’s Karonga
- 16 girls at Mchengautuba Community Day Secondary School
As well as supporting a core number of pupils, we are privileged to manage the Alison Cameron Scholarships on behalf of the Scottish Government. These scholarships, named in honour of our Scottish Patron, enable us to support 45 girls at school and 4 at University between 2017 to 2023.
In addition, four young women are receiving Alison Cameron Scholarships to study at university in Malawi through our partner, The Soko Fund. One of these young women is studying to be a nurse, like Alison Cameron herself, and another a teacher.