Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) an organization that was recently recognized by The Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) and its partners in education as the 2013 Number One Most Innovative Organization in the Promotion of Girls’ Education in Malawi continues to innovate and promote Girls education.
CRECCCOM has been implementing Enhancement of Girls Participation and Completion of Primary Education Project in Partnership with PLAN Malawi in the Education districts of Mulanje, Lilongwe Rural East and West, Kasungu and Mzimba North. In the implementation of the project, Community Leaders, School management committees, Mother groups as well as Parents and Teachers associations were trained on the importance of educating a Girl child as well advocating for full community participation in infrastructure development of their school.
During recent follow up meetings that the organization conducted in Mzimba North education district, it was reported that using the knowledge that different stakeholders acquired during training and sensitization meetings, over 20 girls have been saved from early marriage.
One such girl is Lifa Chisi aged 14 and learning at Mkana primary school, Njuyu Zone in Mzimba North. Her story starts during the long school holiday (July –September). It was during this period that Lifa moved from her parents’ house into her Grandmother’s House (her dad’s mother) following the discovery that she had now reached the adolescent stage. The granny told the girl that it was time for her to get married and the granny together with her dad, identified a husband for her. As per custom the girl was supposed to send her blouse to her would be husband as a sign of acceptance which is known as Chigomezgo. The granny facilitated the process and the blouse was sent but all this was happening without the knowledge of Lifa’s mother.
The headmistress of Mkana primary school Ms Getrude Mphepo noticed that Lifa was not going to school and she got the news that Lifa was bound to get married after she inquired from some learners who come from the same area with Lifa. The headmistress was upset considering the fact that Lifa is a bright student and has a promising future. The head mistress summoned Lifa’s mother, Fyness Tembo who is also a member of the school’s mother group and asked her about Lifa. The mother was not aware of the arranged marriage and with the knowledge acquired from CRECCOM the two ladies agreed to do whatsoever it takes to have Lifa back in school. Lifa’s mother confronted and challenged her husband and the mother in-law on the issue. After long and heated argument the husband and the mother in-law got some sense and accepted to stop the marriage arrangements but the two were ashamed to collect Lifa’s blouse which was earlier presented as Chigomezgo.
Lifa’s mother (Fyness Tembo) went to collect the Chigomegzo but the young man’s family was not cooperative and she returned home but vowed that with or without the blouse, Lifa will still go back to school.
The mother group of the school had sometime to counsel Lifa and she vowed never to be cheated again because she wants to become a nurse in future.
Currently Lifa is back in school and doing well in class. The headmistress and Lifa’s mother are thankful to CRECCOM for the training sessions and sensitization meetings that were conducted at the school because it is the knowledge from these initiatives that helped them to save Lifa from early marriage.