< Girls' education in Malawi – Mamie Martin Fund

Girls’ education in Malawi

The Mamie Martin Fund believes that no girl who has gained a place at secondary school should have to give it up because of poverty.

Today, while 27% of girls in Malawi enrol in secondary school only 13% actually attend
Only a fraction of that group will finish school with only 5% passing their MSCE exam. Secondary education in Malawi is not free and many girls drop out due to financial hardship. There are other barriers for the girl pupils too and our ‘discretionary fund’ aims to help girls who need basic items, such as uniforms, soap, sanitary wear, etc..

“Education is not an ‘education only’ issue” but requires a holistic and multi-sectoral approach – situating girls’ education in the broader development context in Malawi. Girls face numerous cultural and social challenges: early marriage, early pregnancy and gender-based violence – all of which impact negatively upon a girl’s ability to remain actively engaged in school. ( Robertson, S. et al., 2017, Girls’ Primary and Secondary Education in Malawi: Sector Review Final Report, Submitted to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) with support from UNICEF.

Research has identified school-related gender-based violence (GBV) (physical, verbal, emotional and psychological harassment that girls experience while in and around the school surroundings) including violence perpetuated by students and teachers, as a major deterrent to girls’ education. GBV, which is often under-reported, has been shown to contribute to girls’ absenteeism and dropout in Malawi, with girls staying away from school due to fear of harassment and abuse.