LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi and the USA on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand existing secondary schools and install new secondary schools throughout Malawi under the U.S. government’s new Secondary Education Expansion for Development (SEED) initiative.
U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, Malawi’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs Emmanuel Fabiano, and USAID Mission Director Littleton Tazewell represented their governments at the ceremony.
As part of its efforts to combat HIV, the United States intends to provide up to US$90 million (MK 65.4 billion) to build secondary schools across Malawi and additional funding to provide youth friendly health services.
In the MOU, government committed to fund training and provide salaries for teachers, maintain the new structures; support the provision of youth friendly health services near secondary schools; incorporate comprehensive sex education in the national curriculum to keep young people HIV-free; and to enact a phased-in reduction of secondary school tuition fees.
“Through this commitment, the USA and Malawi will ensure more adolescent girls attend secondary school, which will better keep them HIV free. Studies have shown that for every year a girl who attends secondary school her risk of contracting HIV throughout her lifetime decreases,” the statement read in part
Palmer said Malawi’s program will demonstrate the critical link between girls’ education and public health for the rest of Africa and the world, and provide important benefits for Malawi’s development.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka thanked the USA for showing interest in helping to improve the lives of many young Malawians.
“I am very excited to sign this Memorandum of Understanding on the expansion of secondary education. We are confident that this increased access to education will reduce the transmission of HIV to Malawi’s youth and help us break the back of the HIV epidemic,” Msaka said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs Emmanuel Fabiano concurred, saying: “Education is the most important asset a parent can give to a child and a government to its citizens. It is therefore most gratifying for Malawi to have the US Government to partner with the Malawi Government in empowering the youth with education. This will contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of Malawi.”