First Lady Monica Chakwera has announced that she will launch a programme with the Ministry of Education aimed at supporting school girls in Malawi.
Chakwera said this yesterday during a virtual African First Ladies Summit organised by the Merck Foundation, a philanthropic organisation.
Speaking in her capacity as Malawi’s ambassador of the foundation’s More Than a Mother Programme and the newest member of the First Ladies’ grouping, Chakwera said she will add more projects to the existing initiatives Malawi has with the organisation.
She said: “We plan to launch a girls education programme which will see 20 best performing secondary school students getting scholarships annually to finish their studies.
“Under Merck Foundation’s Educating Linda, the initiative seeks to educate girls, especially in rural areas. The vision and goals of Educating Linda are in line with a what my personal foundation to be launched soon, will be focusing on.”
Commenting on Merck Foundation’s programmes in general, the First Lady said she was keen to work with the organisation in different sectors.
She said: “The foundation has strategic plans to build a reliable health care system and fight stigma associated with infertility. There are nine Malawian health personnel undergoing one year oncology studies which, upon completion, will see an improvement in the quality and efficiency of cancer care in Malawi. Our cancer centres are not well-equipped with human resources.
“There are studies related to diabetes and acute medicine, among others. We look forward to seeing a number of doctors enrolling in various diploma and masters degree programmes. This will contribute towards the shaping of the health care landscape in Malawi.”
Merck Foundation’s educating girls programme was launched in 2019 with the aim of helping underprivileged young girls to continue their education.
Merck Foundation’s chief executive officer Rasha Kelej said: “The spirit of the project is to provide an opportunity to such girls to pursue their dreams and reach their potential through access to education. It has been seen that many girls drop out of school due to lack of necessities such as fees and uniform.”
Besides Chakwera, the summit also welcomed Burundi and Angola first ladies. Other participants were first ladies of Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Niger and the Central Africa Republic.