MZUZU (MaraviPost) — Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg Wednesday launched a K7.2 billion project whose aim is to curb problems that hamper Malawian girls in their education pursuit endeavours in Malawi’s central region district of Dedza.

The project, which will run under the banner Improving Access and Quality of Education for Girls in Malawi, is wholly funded by Norway and supported by other international organisations such as UNICEF, UNFPA and World Food Programme (WFP).

Under the project, such key threats to girls’ education as poor food and nutrition, inadequate protection, poor-quality schooling and violation of girls’ sexual and reproductive rights will be covered, a press statement said.

The districts of Dedza, Salima and Mangochi will be among the first in which the project will be implemented.

Norwegian ambassador to Malawi Asbjorn Eidhammer said his government believes in the importance of educating the girl child.

“When you educate a girl, you educate the whole nation,” said Eidhammer. “Education is key to fighting poverty, and my government believes educating girls is the single most powerful investment for development.”

Eidhammer hailed Pres Peter Mutharika’s personal engagement and his Government’s commitment to educating the young.

“Norway will work together with Malawi to ensure quality education for all,” he assured.

Getting girls to stay in school remains a major challenge in Malawi. According to Government of Malawi figures, only 27 percent of girls complete primary education. Boys, on the other hand, perform better than girls in mathematics and reading, and are more likely to embark on post-primary education.

Only half of Malawian girls aged 15-24 are literate. Gender parity now stands at 1:1 in the lower primary school grades but disparities emerge as early as standard 4, with girls dropping out before they acquire basic literacy skills and repeating years to a greater extent than boys. 

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