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Makande Safe School Committee Constructs a Permanent Sanitary


Safe School Committee chairperson Rodrick Mulilima (right) inspecting the construction work for the new girls’ changeroom structure.


Makande Primary School is one of the schools under Namulenga zone in Mulanje district and it is located in Chitimbe village, Group Village Headman Nobwe, Traditional Authority Mkanda. For many years of its existence, the school has been a learning environment that when it comes to adolescents, the boys have been enjoying the education while girls enduring the same. This is because the school had no structure where adolescent girls who are on their menstrual periods could use as a sanitary changeroom. As a result, many girls had to be absconding classes when they are in such periods hence performing poorly in examinations.

“We [girls] used to be so inconvenienced because when menstruation most a week” – testified Joyce


Bale, a 15-year-old girl who is a standard 7 learner at the school. According to Rodrick Mulilima, chairman for safe school committee, no one saw the need for the changeroom because no one realized how this affects the girls. Such was the case until in the year 2020 when the Girls Get Equal (Nzothe-ka) project came to the school and established the Safe School Committee. During the training for the committee, which was facilitated by CRECCOM, the members of the committee realized how unsafe the school environment was for the girls.

Makande Primary School is one of the schools under Namulenga zone in Mulanje district and it is located in Chitimbe village, Group Village Headman Nobwe, Traditional Authority Mkanda. For many years of its existence, the school has been a learning environment that when it comes to adolescents, the boys have been enjoying the education while girls enduring the same. This is because the school had no structure where adolescent girls who are on their menstrual periods could use it as a sanitary changeroom. As a result, many girls had to be absconding classes when they are in such periods hence performing poorly in examinations.


“We [girls] used to be so inconvenienced because when menstruation starts while here at school, one could go straight home and never come back for almost a week” – testified Joyce Bale, a 15-year-old girl who is a standard 7 learner at the school. According to Rodrick Mulilima, chairman of the safe school committee, no one saw the need for the changeroom because no one realized how this affects the girls. Such was the case until the year 2020 when the Girls Get Equal (Nzotheka) project came to the school and established the Safe School Committee. During the training for the committee, which was facilitated by CRECCOM, the members of the committee realized how unsafe the school environment was for the girls.


“We were trained to proactively lead our community towards making the school environment safe for both boys and girls as well as disabled learners so that they all enjoy the education and perform well.” – Mulilima explained. Following the training, the committee in agreement with the headteacher turned one of the girls’ toilets into a temporally changeroom. Iron sheets that were taken from an old, damaged building in the community with the approval of the Village Development Committee were used to create a wall on one side of the toilet and that is where girls could go and change sanitary pads as the committee works on constructing a permanent changeroom.


In 2021, the safe school committee with the community members contributed money and bought bricks as well as construction sand. They also kept iron sheets left that were collected from the damaged old building. With the help of CRECCOM, the committee wrote a proposal to PLAN Malawi requesting funds from GGE project to be used for purchasing cement. PLAN Malawi responded positively, and 15 bags of cement were provided. All these materials are for the construction of the new and permanent changeroom for the girls. Construction thereof is underway.

According to Mulilima, the changeroom will help to keep girls in school which is in line with the objectives of GGE project. CRECCOM in partnership with PLAN International is implanting the Keeping Girls in School component of the NORAD-funded Girls Get Equal (Nzotheka) project in selected 179 schools in Mulanje, Phalombe, and Lilongwe districts. The project aims at reducing child early forced marriages and early pregnancies; and contributing to girls’ education attainment.

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