By Amina Tepani Daudi

Boy learners from various primary schools in Mangochi have asked non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the district to consider promoting their education just as their female counterparts.

This came to light through complaint boxes which the police placed in 72 primary schools under the safe schools program established in 2015, funded by UNICEF and the United Nations joint program on girl education.

From last week, a team led by Inspector Gift Samu Karoti from Mangochi Police Station, under the Community Policing Branch, retrieved boxes from 38 various primary schools and discovered a similar complaint from boy learners: that a lot of NGOs tend to favor a girl child and sideline a boy child in most school programs.

“We want them (NGOs) to promote us, too. We really need inclusive education. That’s why we’ve sent in our grievances through the complaint box placed in our schools,” said one of the similar complaints.

In reacting to the complaints, the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) operations officer for Mangochi District, Felix Cholimbira, acknowledged that most NGOs support girls because of the challenges they face in their society, and each organization has its own policies, objectives, and mission, and CAMFED is not an exception.

However, Camfed was first supporting girls, but with the outcry from boys and upon seeing the gap that was being created, they started supporting boys both at Primary under the Educate a Child project and in secondary schools under ISEM.

“There is also a Malawi Education Reform Program that CAMFED is giving a consultancy role on Learner Mentor project which is targeting both girl and boy learners from standard one to four,” Cholimbira alluded.

“The bottom line is that girls meet a lot of challenges and hindrances than boys. So, we strive to advocate for the quality education of the girl child,” he added.

On her part, AGE Africa district manager Bertha Bonongwe cited that the situation of Mangochi district education sector remains pathetic as current statistics still show that there are a lot of girls who are currently not in school and have dropped out due to lack of school fees, early marriages, and pregnancies.

“It’s a situation that is affecting girl child education compared to boys. AGE Africa as an organization assisting girls’ education finds its fingers tight to extend its support towards boys. This is because of the vision of its founder Xanther Scharff, a young woman who envisioned that young girls in Malawi should access quality education and be engaged citizens like our male counterparts,” said Bonongwe.

According to police records, most perpetrators of crimes such as breakings and thefts are boys under the age of 18, hence encouraging NGOs to retaliate in the matter to achieve the efforts of promoting child education in the district.

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