Mzimba district education manager (DEM) Funwell Chiowa has interdicted three teachers since January for allegedly sexually abusing schoolgirls.
District commissioner Thomas Chirwa spoke of the suspension of teachers—based at Manolo, Chiwangalala and Mzimba primary schools—in Mzuzu on Friday when Girls Empowerment Network (Genet) trained 50 teachers in child protection.
He said: “At one school, several girls testified how a teacher was abusing them sexually.
“This came to light after one girl got pregnant. The teacher was arrested and interdicted. We are waiting for the court ruling before we give the final verdict on the teacher.”
In other cases, teachers were caught by learners having sex with schoolgirls, according to Chirwa.
“We believe this is happening in many schools, but some cases go unreported. It is important to empower teachers to protect pupils from abuse because children spend almost 90 percent of their time with them,” he stated.
Mzimba North coordinating primary education adviser Jimmy Gondwe said such sexual abuses are rampant in traditional authorities Mpherembe and Chindi.
“Some teachers take schoolgirls as their girlfriends. Unfortunately, most of these abuses go unreported because children and parents fear stigma,” he said.
The training buoys the push to combat sexual violence in primary schools, said project officer Linda Sichali.
“We want to build teachers’ capacity to munimise such sexual gender-based violence against girls,” she said.
Genet is running the initiative together with Oxfam and Centre for Alternatives for Victimised Women and Children (Cavwoc) with funding from Comic Relief and Project Direct.n