Girls in remote settings face a lot of challenges that militate against their quest to pursue their goals. Poverty, domestic work, child marriages and teen pregnancies are all setbacks for a girl child.
In addition to the foregoing, some girls simply lack the interest to continue with school due to a lack of role models. This was the case in Mtsilo Cluster in Chimungu Zone in Dowa Central.
According to Fanny Chautsi, who worked in the area as a volunteer under Creative Centre for Community Mobilisation (CRECCOM), many girls used to drop out of school due to a lack of role models. She says it was difficult for girls to believe that they could qualify for secondary school.
“So, when I joined others under Mobilisation Corps of Malawi [MCM], I became the role model to girls in the villages. People used to refer to us when advising girls to remain in school,” she explains.
Chautsi had three primary schools under Primary School Support Project—Mtsilo, Mafosha and Chambidzi. There, she encouraged girls to work hard in class.
The teacher from Mtsilo Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Dzoole in Dowa, remembers that she also encouraged parents to venture into livestock farming to maximise their income.
“So, some raised goats and others pigs. They would sell these animals to raise money to support their children in school,” she explains.
Chautsi, the role model, demonstrated again that a girl can go far with the school. She applied for a teaching programme at Kasungu Teachers Training College. She graduated in 2010.
The same year she was posted to Chorwe Primary School in T/A Kalumo in Ntchisi District. She stayed there for one year before going to Kanyangala Primary School in Dowa Central where she taught for five years.
In 2015, the Ministry of Education posted her to Chikwete Primary School in Mponela, Dowa. She stayed until 2020 when she was posted to her present school—Kachulu.
In every school she has taught, Chautsi has always inspired girls to work hard. She believes that what a boy can achieve, a girl can too.