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“When we had no change room for the girls, we had a lot of cases of girls leaving early from school before knock off to simply go home and get changed during their menstrual periods. This forced most of them to miss crucial lesson and eventually perform poorly in exams,” explained Annet Masuso, teacher and girls’ counsellor at Sagawa Primary School in Mulanje. The absence of girls’ sanitary change room at the school campus created a non-conducive learning environment for girls at the school. According to Masuso, such was the case before Girls Get Equal (GGE) project intervened in 2021 with a training for the teachers on safe school management.

Teacher Annet Masuso (left) and learner Angella Khelele at the newly construct change room (left building)

“Three teachers including myself and the head teacher participated in the GGE training and we were mainly taught about gender inclusiveness in the school management and in our teaching approaches hence we realized after the training that the change room issue had to be seriously taken care of,” Masuso continued. According to her, the teachers organized a meeting with the school management committee (SMC) and the parents-1teacher association (PTA) to discuss way forward on the change room need. The PTA and SMC agreed to mobilize community members on resource mobilization for the construction of the change room. In 2022 through gradually, the change room was constructed and finished.

“We are witnessing a great change in the presence of girls in classes at all times as they no longer have to go home just to change sanitary pads. As GGE encouraged us, we as a school also bought and keep sanitary pads as well as washing materials like buckets and soap which the girls do access at any moment of need”, proudly testified Masuso. One of the girls, 16 year old Angella Khelele of Standard 7 from Sagawa village, T/A Ndanga believes that the change room has boosted a conducive learning environment for herself and her fellow girls. “In the past, it was hard especially for us who come from a far to go home, get changed and then come back to school again. But now, the change room is nearby so we do not miss classes as we can get changes within few minutes and go back to class,” testified Angella.

Keeping Girls in School’ is a component of the NORAD-funded GGE (Nzotheka) project which CRECCOM is implementing in partnership with PLAN Malawi. The project runs from 2019 to 2023 and other partners in the project include Point of Progress and CARD. The project is implemented in Mulanje, Phalomba and Lilongwe districts.


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