Nov
01
2021

First Lady Reception at the David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre

THE MALAWI GIRL CHILD PARTNERSHIP

Start time 13:30 (UK) End time 15:30 (UK) Location David Livingstone Birthplace, 165 Station Rd, Blantyre, Glasgow G72 9BY

The Scotland Malawi Partnership was delighted to co-host a special event at the David Livingstone Birthplace Centre, Blantyre (Scotland!), for Her Excellency Monica Chakwera, the First Lady of the Republic of Malawi, to meet SMP members working on projects with Malawi supporting the girl child.

The meeting had a strong focus on the First Lady’s work through the ‘Shaping the Future Foundation’ (click here for their freshly launched website, their Profile and Strategic Plan).

Anstance Fometu, a Malawian social worker and Chair of the Children and Families International Foundation, organised creative activities for all the delegates to work together exploring how best to support the girl child in Malawi.

Download presentation by MacDuff Phiri on the Shaping Our Future Foundation here.

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Context

Malawi remains one of the world’s least developed countries, ranking 170 out of 188 on the Human Development Index. Over 60 per cent of the population live below the income poverty line and approximately 63 per cent of children live in poverty. Child marriage remains high, with 46.7 per cent of girls married before the age of 18 and Malawi’s pre-term birth rate the highest in the world, at 13 per cent. Malawi’s rapidly increasing population is putting pressure on the government to scale up services in social services, including education.

As of today, the literacy rate of children in Malawi is considerably higher since the introduction of free primary education but most girls drop out of school due to a myriad of reasons ranging from the cultural to the infrastructure which does not support the empowerment of the girl child. The state of girls’ education in Malawi is still in critical condition and ensuring many girls complete or return to education is the only way to empower the girl child.

With more than 85 percent of its population living in rural areas, Malawi faces a critical problem of girls under-enrolled and outnumbered in the majority of its primary schools.

Furthermore, primary education attendance does not mean that students will automatically go on to pursue higher level education. The percentage of girls graduating from secondary school each year remains low and very few go on to seek post-secondary education studies.

This partnership meeting sought to mobilise partnerships to boost existing efforts to empower the Malawian Girl Child.

The event

The Malawi Girl Child Partnership Meeting was organised to reflect the deep-rooted Malawi and Scotland friendship and the historical role Missionary David Livingstone played in introduction of education in Malawi.

The event was organised by: prominent social work activist Anstance Fometu and Kondwani Munthali, a Malawian media expert and researcher at University of Stirling in Scotland, with the Scotland Malawi Partnership and the David Livingstone Birthplace. It was designed to bring together Scottish, English and Malawian individuals and institutions to develop partnerships to mobilise, harness and work together to support Girl Child Education in Malawi.

The event was hosted by the David Livingstone Birthplace in Blantyre, Scotland on 1st November, 2021 from 1pm to 4pm. Afternoon tea of sandwiches was served at the end of the event and guests had the opportunity to tour the newly re-opened David Livingstone Birthplace.

The stunning new exhibition at David Livingstone Birthplace follows Livingstone’s life, from his birth in Blantyre to his death in Zambia.

Visitors can learn about the Scottish abolitionist, missionary, and explorer, and travel with him from Scotland to Southern and Central Africa. Using the exhibition’s interactive displays, discover the communities and people who played a pivotal part in Livingstone’s life and expeditions, before reflecting on his legacy.

The museum is set in 11 acres of beautiful park land and includes nature trails, the Livingstone and Lion sculpture, and a brand-new play park.

Objectives/Outcomes

The primary objective of the event was to promote partnerships between Malawian and Scottish institutions working in the field of girl child education, gender and women empowerment to strengthen their delivery and harness available human, material and financial resources to maximise impact in their quest to improve gild child education.

Specific objective and outcomes included:

  • Creating awareness on the latest data, issues and challenges affecting girl child education in Malawi
  • Developing partnerships to support girl child education
  • Mobilising resources and opportunities towards supporting girl child education in Malawi
  • Identifying opportunities to empower girl child and support young mothers to return to school

Participants: The interactive session was Chaired by Her Excellency Monica Chakwera, the First Lady of the Republic of Malawi and Founder of Shape Our Future Foundation which is working in directly supporting the girl child education in Malawi among other projects.

Attendees represented:

  • Philanthropists and individuals willing to support girl education in Malawi
  • Institutions working in Girl Child education, protection and empowerment
  • Institutions working in social enterprises focusing on women empowerment
  • Child protection and education activists
  • Government and Civic leaders
  • Representatives of Malawian community in Scotland

The following institutions and individuals were part of the event delivery team:

  • Mrs Anstance Fometu and Mr Kondwani Munthali
  • Shaping our Future Foundation
  • Scotland Malawi Partnership
  • David Livingstone Birthplace Centre
  • Scotland Malawi Partnership
  • Mr. Wade Ball
  • Association of Malawians in Scotland
  • Malawi High Commission to the United Kingdom

Covid protocol

This in-person event complied with appropriate Covid guidance and legislation. We asked all attendees to conduct a lateral flow test on the day. We had hygiene stations with alcohol gel. Facemasks were required for the duration of the event, except for when eating, drinking or speaking at a microphone. We encouraged 1m social distancing and specifically discouraged handshaking but the event itself was not fully socially distanced. Windows were open where possible to facilitate ventilation.