Ntchisi District Youth Office has embarked on a campaign aimed at encouraging children, young women and girls in particular, to go back to school.
Ntchisi District Youth Officer, Gray Kalampa said in an interview on Tuesday that his office is engaging teachers, traditional leaders as well as parents and guardians to encourage children in their respective communities to go back to school.
The campaign which is taking place in two Traditional Authorities namely Kalumo and Chilooko in Ntchisi district is being supported by the Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC) and seeks to ensure that children are back in school after the prolonged holidays necessitated by Covid-19 pandemic.
“Attainment of education by children requires a multisectoral approach hence the decision to engage these groups so they can relay the message to the children to discourage them from staying at home but rather go back to school,”said Kalampa.
He urged the traditional leaders to desist from cultural practices such as gulewamkulu which if not properly handled hinders smooth access to education among children in the two areas.
Concurring with Kalampa, Village headman Mkwayi from Kalumo’s area bemoaned lack of enforcement of by laws which have been put in place in the area to regulate the gule wamkulu.
However, Group Village headman Kadundwe from Chilooko’s area said the bylaws are being enforced in his area to ensure that gulewamkulu does not impinge on the children’s right to education.
“For instance, we do not allow initiation of young boys to be done during school time and we have also come up with a strategy whereby the gulewamkulu dancers move around in homes in the morning to mobilise children to go to school and it is really working,”said the village headman.
Village head woman Jesinala also from TA Chilooko said she has refused to allow a fourteen year old girl who was impregnated in her village to get married to the boy who was responsible.
She said: “This girl is young and I have advised the parents to look after her until she delivers. The parents will take care of the baby to enable her go back to school.