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Norway launches K7.2 billion education project

The education sector in the country yesterday received a major boost, thanks to a new K7.2 billion (US$17 518 248.2) initiative launched by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Dedza District.
The initiative aims at offering better education for girls by addressing main threats, including poor food and nutrition, inadequate protection, poor quality schooling and societal violations of girls’ sexual and reproductive rights.

For girl-child education: Solberg amid Nthulu pupils
For girl-child education: Solberg amid Nthulu pupils

The initiative – targeting Dedza, Salima and Mangochi districts—will be funded by Norway, with support of the United Nations (UN), through the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Speaking during the launch at Nthulu Primary School, Solberg said she was moved by stories told by many girls who had fallen victim to early marriage practices and abuse before they were persuaded back to school through community mobilisation and advocacy strategies.
“I am inspired by your bravery. What I have learnt (about the personal suffering and perseverance) will be useful for me as co-chairperson of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group of the United Nations,” the Prime Minister stated.
Earlier, UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo urged Malawi to table the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill in Parliament in order to protect girls and encourage them to concentrate on education and secure fulfilling lives later.
She advised government to table the Bill soon “because on all the MDGs Malawi is lagging behind [and] there is a gender dimension that indicates the core of the problem”.
“Dream big. Don’t give up. Study hard,” Seppo told the girls.
In his welcoming remarks, Education Minister Emmanuel Fabiano said the new government of President Peter Mutharika will not only prioritise girls’ education, but also raise the standards of education all round.

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