Centre for Alternatives for Victimised Women and Children (Cavwoc) says the level of sexual violence perpetuated against school girls in the country is alarming.
Speaking on Wednesday during an Oxfam-funded Combating Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls project activity, Cavwoc project officer Khumbolane Nyirenda said the project, implemented in 30 primary schools, seeks to reduce gender-based violence (GBV) which has physical and psychological effects on girls.
“It has been observed that over the years, in this part of Balaka some negative norms have permeated schools, reducing enrolment and increasing repetition and dropout rates among girls,” she said.
Nyirenda said Cavwoc established 30 anti-sexual violence clubs, trained girls and mother group members in making sanitary pads and distributed sewing-machines.
“We also rescued 20 girls from teen marriages while 215 teen mothers were readmitted to school,” she said.
On his part, Balaka district senior inspector of schools Henry Jambo said Balaka faces high repetition and dropout rates apart from lacking sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) information and role models, especially on the part of girls.
“Although repetition rate now stands at 20 percent from 21.6 percent (2017-2018) and dropout rate at 2 percent from 2.4 percent (2017-2018), the figures are still unacceptably high,” he said.
Jambo said government welcomes interventions from stakeholders such Cavwoc to reduce GBV and drop-out rate.