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Oxfam fights to retain girls in secondary school

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By Faith Kamtambe:

AT RISK – Girl students

Oxfam, an international charitable organisation, has said there is need to intensify efforts of keeping girls in school.

Oxfam Deputy Country Director, Lingalireni Mihowa, has said using mother groups, community counsellors and male champions at the community level can help stakeholders achieve the goal.

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“Through the male champions, the project is facilitating platforms for men and boys to challenge prevailing concepts of masculinity, gender, stereotypes to accept change and transition to become champions for girls’ rights to education,” Mihowa said.

Oxfam is implementing a programme which seeks to increase enrollment, retention and completion to, at least secondary school for, girls and vulnerable students.

Mihowa said the European Union-funded project, which is being implemented in collaboration with Girls Empowerment Network and Centre for Alternatives for Victimised Women and Children, is targeting 12 community day secondary schools (CDSS) in six districts.

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In Kasungu, the project is benefitting 240 students by providing school fees, bicycles for learners who cover long distances and school uniforms among other basic needs.

One of the beneficiaries, Jessie Nkhoma, a form four student at Chilanga CDSS in Kasungu, said the project has helped her to remain in school.

“I was not going to school because my parents could not see the importance of sending me to school.

“With this project, I believe my dream of becoming a nurse will be fulfilled as the project is giving us everything needed by a student,” Nkhoma said.

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