Promoting gender equality through distribution of sanitary pads
Agnes Chipamba, a teacher at Kanjira Primary School in Lilongwe rural, joined the teaching profession in 2011 after she graduated from Development Aid from People to People Chilangoma Teacher Training College (TTC).
Since then she has been on the forefront promoting gender equality and ensuring both girls and boys from her community and school have equal access to quality education by applying different methods of gender equality which she learnt at the college. “Among others, I learnt that both male and female learners should be treated equally. I also learnt that teachers should ensure both young girls and boys have equal access to quality education,” she explains.
However, this is not a simple task for her as many Malawian girls in the rural areas miss school or drop out due to factors such as lack of sanitary pads for use during menstruation.
In responding to the challenges, she works with community mothers in making sanitary pads for the learners using locally available resources. “Previously, a lot of girls used to miss classes every month during their menstruation period because they could not afford to buy sanitary pads. This greatly affected their performance in class.” Agnes explains.
The sanitary pads come as a major boost to the girls’ performance at Kanjira School because menstruation is no longer an excuse for absenteeism. “The pads are made using locally available resources as such we give them out for free and some girls are now able to sew them on their own,” she says.