16/06/2015: UNFPA urges Malawi to improve girl education

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)Executive Director Dr Babatunde Osotimehin has urged Malawi Government to promote girl education beyond primary school level saying secondary education reduces the risks that girls face towards their economic well-being.

Osotimehin said this on Monday when he met with Malawi leader on the side-lines of the 25th AU Summit Johannesburg, South Africa.

Osotimehin said it was important that countries should invest in secondary education as it is proven to keep girls from early marriages and premature deaths that occur in early pregnancies and marriages.

He said, “Education to the professional level improves the girl’s well-being. And by going to secondary school girls will reach 18 and make informed choices.”

On his part, President Professor Peter Mutharika said his Government was committed to promoting girl education through construction of girls’ hostels to minimize distance to schools, back to school programme for girl mothers, and cash transfer to empower girls to reduce their vulnerability that comes due to poverty.

Mutharika also met several dignitaries including, Dr Sipho Moyo Executive Director of ONE Africa who expressed interest of partnering with Malawi efforts and echoed with Osotimehin saying that the hostel initiative coupled with construction of better toilets may encourage girls to attend school and go further than they currently do.

During the day Malawi’s President also met Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma with whom he discussed youth empowerment and training which the President said were among the epitomes of his government’s development agenda.

Mutharika said his government’s commitment in community colleges was bound to increase employability as well as entrepreneurship among youths who he said make up over 50 per cent of the population, but most remained untrained.

Sharma said he was glad to note that the Malawi President was taking great interest in the affairs of the youth and sustainable development.

“The President was particularly interested in matters dealing with the youth, public administration, governance of natural resources and whatever goes into elections management,” said Sharma adding that he looks forward to Malawi’s presence in the forthcoming Commonwealth Summit in Malta where he says Malawi could benefit by participation.

Mutharika also had an audience with his Mozambican counterpart, President Filipe Nyusi in a closed session of bilateral talks.

Mutharika who is UNFPA Youth Champion and Champion for She for He initiative also attended a press briefing organised by UN Women on fighting child marriages among other commitments.