Girls Empowerment Network Malawi exists to amplify the voices of adolescent girls and young girls to reach decision making tables. We have been involved in building and creating a grassroot network of girls and young women advocates. We want to give the adolescent girls a voice and a platform where their thoughts and voices are heard. We believe that girls should be properly armed to fight the injustice and inequalities they face in order to achieve positive social transformation and be the change they want to be.
There is underrepresentation of girls in schools leading to low education attainment for girls. School dropout is very high among adolescent girls. This is attributed to economic as well as social attitudes that tend to undervalue girls’ education as in most cases marriage is perceived to be the ultimate goal for girls. GENET has been working to increase access to education for girls in GENET priority intervention areas. Due to financial constraints, many girls face significant challenges in attending school regularly and affording appropriate scholastic supplies.
Violence in schools is also a barrier for girls to education in our area and GENET work with local structures to eliminate violence in schools and make the school environment safe for every child.
We also encourage girls to remain in schools and attend all lessons even during their menses through provision of low cost sustainable sanitary pads and underwear. Most poor girls miss out classes every time they are menstruating because they cannot take care of themselves at school. Most poor adolescent girls cannot afford disposable pads and do not have pants (underwear). Through keeping girls at school project, girls can now attend all lessons and have demonstrated an improvement in terms of their class participation and grade.
An educated Malawian girl has high earning potential, enjoys good health, she is less likely to marry as a teenager, has fewer children, less likely to be a victim of gender based violence, more likely to educate her children and be productive to the community and the country at large.