(Feb 28, 2019) Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi Steinar Hagen visited Nthulu Primary School in Dedza on 19 February to appreciate the impact of the Joint Programme on Girls’ Education (JPGE), which the UN is jointly implementing with Malawi Government using funding from Norway.
The girls’ education programme which has just completed its first phase with positive results was implemented in 169 schools since 2014 in Salima, Dedza and Mangochi districts. The ambassador said he was delighted with the improvements the programme has made in the education sector in Malawi.
Accompanied by the Principal Secretary of Education, Justin Saidi, the ambassador went through pavilions that showcased components of the programme.
In his remarks, Hagen said the programme has seen improvements in services provided to the students, hence the increase in enrollment in the schools.
“Quality education remains a priority for the Norwegian government and we aim to improve the quality of education services in the country. The key challenge to achieve development in Malawi is to improve the situation for girls and enhance their chances in life through education.” said Hagen.
He said the Norwegian government has pledged to continue supporting the JPGE programme with an additional K2 billion for its second phase.
UN Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres said the programme highlights the ‘delivering as one’ approach in the UN as it brings together several agencies with different expertise to improve the lives of girls in Malawi.
“Girls in Malawi are exposed to a range of intersecting disadvantages because of their age, gender, income, marital status, geographical location and other factors. Strengthening and expanding joint programmes such as the JPGE, based on multi sectoral approaches, is therefore key to improving access and quality of education for girls in Malawi,” said Torres.
She said the programme addresses goals in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) and Sustainable Development Goals on poverty (SDG 1), hunger (SDG 2), health (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), gender inequality (SDG 5), and reducing inequalities (SDG 10).
Secretary for Education Justin Saidi also said the JPGE programme has a multisectoral approach, covering education, security, health and nutrition sectors. The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture are the government departments that are providing support to the programme.
“The programme has achieved a lot since its inception in 2014. The programme has covered over 210,000 learners in three districts and this has helped in the reduction of school dropout rate, increased enrollment and improved attendance,” said Saidi.
He said the government has put in place several policies to support girls to stay in school and improve their access to quality education and health services.
The aim of the programme is to improve access and quality of education of girls in Malawi. WFP, UNICEF and UNFPA support its implementation.