Mwalasi, November 20 – U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, together with Malawi’s Minister of Education, Science, and Technology Bright Msaka, today broke ground on a new Community Day Secondary School in Mwalasi, Machinga District. This ground-breaking marks the first phase of construction for ten new Community Day Secondary Schools to be constructed in Machinga and Balaka Districts to be funded by the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), under the Apatseni Mwayi Atsikana Aphunzire (AMAA) project.
Mwalasi, and four other new Community Day Secondary Schools to be constructed in Machinga District located at Kayuni, Ntalala, Matanda, and Mkotamo, will be ready for the 2018 school year, providing classroom space for over 1,000 secondary school students in Machinga alone. Five additional secondary schools to be constructed in Balaka District next year will benefit an additional 1,000 students. The U.S. Government is providing funding for school construction, classroom furniture, textbooks, and science kits while Malawi’s Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology will provide teachers and staff.
“The United States Government is supporting the Apatseni Mwayi Atsikana Aphunzire project to help get more Malawian girls in school, and it is all beginning here at Mwalasi and four other schools in Machinga. I am happy to announce that next year AMAA will begin construction on five additional schools in Balaka – but we won’t stop there. Beyond AMAA, we will continue to work with the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology to increase Malawian girls’ access to secondary school by expanding existing schools, constructing new ones, and by breaking down other barriers in their path. Priority will be given to areas with high HIV burdens as well as areas where young people must currently walk long distances to get to a secondary school,” said U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer.
Secondary school education is invaluable for adolescent girls and boys. Unfortunately, access to secondary school in Malawi is far from universal. This is especially true for girls. At present, due to limited classroom space, fewer than 20 percent of Malawian girls who complete primary school enter secondary school. Evidence suggests that the insufficient seats in Malawi’s secondary schools (both public and private) directly contributes to earlier sexual debut, HIV prevalence, pregnancy, early and forced marriage, and decreased socioeconomic outcomes for the young mother and her children. In addition, girls’ access to education has a direct impact on prosperity. With each additional year of schooling, people earn, on average, 10% higher wages. These earnings, in turn, contribute to Malawi’s national economic growth.
The Apatseni Mwayi Atsikana Aphunzire (AMAA) project is currently being implemented by Save the Children in five districts of Malawi: Phalombe, Chikwawa, Machinga, Balaka, and Mzimba North. To learn more about AMAA, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/fact-sheets/malawi-let-girls-learn-fact-sheet