At the end of January, the Malawian government made the tough decision to close schools, once again, due to a surge in positive Coronavirus cases.
While we agree with the government’s decision in keeping our students safe, we can not ignore the dire need to act quickly in response, as school closures in developing countries result in serious social issues that can not be overlooked. These social issues include a rise in child pregnancies, marriage, and trafficking – all of which carry the cultural burden of continuing the cycle of poverty and much more.
During the seven month period when the schools remained closed in 2020, the number of “registered, unprecedented teenage pregnancies were in excess of 40,000,” states Benedicto Kondowe, Executive Director for the Civil Society Education Coalition. In addition, The organization Malawi Network against Trafficking (M-NAT) has applied pressure on the government to reopen learning institutions, declaring that cases of trafficking minors had escalated.
For children in Malawi, #SchoolMeansMore than a place to learn, it’s a tool for survival. “We do not know for how long COVID will remain with us. If COVID takes three years, five years, you are seriously saying that ‘education should be suspended.’ What future will he have created for generations to come?” he asked. The question Kondowe raises is imperative.
While the transition to virtual learning in the U.S. has been difficult to navigate, we are blessed to have options when it comes to continuing education during these unprecedented times. As our Namunda Primary School is located in rural Malawi, efforts to install alternative learning through radio programs and digital means is impossible due to limited radio receivers and no electricity to support internet.
In order to get schools re-opened as quickly and safely as possible in Malawi, we must focus on health + hygiene by providing the Namunda community with necessary resources to combat the virus. Handwashing is one of the most important preventative measures for limiting the spread. Our mission is to provide each household in Namunda village with a handwashing kit including soap for hands + body, soap for cleaning cloths, and a bucket for washing.
Clean hands mean life, health, and continuing education in the fight against Coronavirus. Clean hands mean everything for students in Malawi, Africa. Give a handwashing kit today!