Child marriages are common in Malawi in rural areas where school dropout rate is also on the higher side compared to schools that are found in urban areas.
Such kind of cases have been narrowed down by various organisations that look into education and the protection of rights of the girl child one such organisation is the Malawi Girl Guides Association of Malawi, MAGGA.
Realizing that early childhood development centers around educating the girl child therefore one tends to spend a lot of time at school in the custody of both male and female teachers.
It is for this reason that MAGGA organized a training for teachers to remind them on the importance of holding up their professionalism as well as observe the code of conduct.
MAGGA assembled teachers from Chambe and Ndyanyama zones of Mulanje district where it has been observed that it holds the highest HIV prevalence rate, hitting at 20.6 percent, compared to other districts.
“Teaching a child goes beyond standing in front and marking their exercise books. We want to remind teachers that they are guardians of these little ones and therefore their code of conduct should be put in use to reduce cases of gender based violence,” said Tamani Mlumbe who is a field officer for MAGGA in Mulanje.
According to reports that Teachers Union of Malawi has received, 3 Male teachers were called for disciplinary hearing after being involved in relationships with primary school learners in the district. One of the teachers who opted for anonymity said stiffer punishment should be meted to these teachers.
“Often times you will find the teahcr pinning the balem of th girl but the teacher is the one who is in the wrong since he is grown up and can be in a better position to prevent a teacher-student relationship,” she said.
Eddie Tomato, representing the Teachers Union of Malawi collaborates with the District Education Management in such instances to make that such teachers are punished accordingly.
“We want the girl child’s education to flourish. We look at these girls as the future for the country and we will not let any misguided teacher to take advantage of the girls and that is why we need to remember our code of conduct as teachers,” said Tomato.
MaGGA is running a project in Chambe and N’dyanyama whose objective is to reduce cases of school dropouts and gender based violence and it is geared to establish Girl Guide clubs where students can meet and discuss some of the violence they encounter and empower them on reporting such cases to relevant authorities.