Why girls' education matters
Image: Students at Mechgenautuba Community Day Secondary School (MCDSS) in one of the poorest areas of Mzuzu in North Malawi. Mamie Martin Fund supports students at this school, including purchasing uniforms for those who can't afford them. (Credit: Mamie Martin Fund)
On Sunday 11th October the Mamie Martin Fund (MMF) marked International Day of the Girl Child by publishing a new report on girls’ education in Malawi. The report is based on the research of Anna Freidenfeld as part of her MSc in International Development at the University of Edinburgh. Anna was on placement with MMF as part of her dissertation work. She explored the literature about girls’ education, analysed MMF’s data about school pupils and brought these two pieces of research together in one piece of work. Anna’s dissertation is quite bulky, of course, and not yet available for public sharing, so we have released a report summarising her findings. This report presents the literature review and data analysis as an accessible summary. In effect, this report sets out the current situation relating to girls’ education in Malawi and how MMF’s holistic approach is proving effective.
The literature summary in this report will be useful to organisations working in the same field. It is vital that we can always support our assertion about the importance of educating girls with research-based evidence.
While MMF can only ever support a small number of girls at school (138 this year) Anna’s research found that 81% of MMF-bursary girls successfully completed secondary school. This figure compares very favourably with the most recent Malawi-wide data from UNESCO which recorded that school completion in Malawi stood at just 21% in 2013. Anna found that the way in which MMF supports girls through their ‘Ready to Learn’ fund is highly effective. This is part of their holistic approach - providing some money for the necessities which the girls cannot afford and without which they could not remain at school.
The girl child is fundamental to the mission and work of the Mamie Martin Fund, as she is to many other NGOs working around the world. Moira Dunworth, MMF Trustee, says “We believe that the education of girls and women is essential to the well-being and development of any nation. We are pleased that this research validates our approach and we hope to be able to continue and develop our work in spite of the challenges facing the whole NGO sector.”