Salima — Norwegian Minister for International Development, Nikolai Astrup has applauded Malawi Government and United Nations Agencies for the Joint Programme on Girls Education (GoM-UNJPGE), saying it demonstrated commitment towards increased access to quality education for girls.
He made the remarks at Lifidzi Primary School in Salima, where he toured some interventions under the UN-JPGE.
Astrup whose Country is funding the programme, said he was pleased that the joint efforts by the government ministries and UN agencies namely UNICEF, WFP and UNFP has managed to reduce cases of school dropout and early pregnancies.
"It is pleasing to note that the joint effort is able to combat some of the challenges that affect access to education for girls," he said.
The Minister observed there was need to continue with joint effort from various sectors, departments and agencies.
"Education is key to progress and prosperity, so it is important that we continue investing in the education of our children," Astrup explained.
Principal Secretary for Education Justin Saidi thanked the government of Norway for its support towards implementation of phase one and two (current) of the JPGE, which run from 2015-2017 and 2018 to 2020, respectively.
"As government, we appreciate the support which is indeed, helping us to tackle challenges in the provision of education," he pointed outi.
According to information from Salima District Education Office, since JPGE started operating in the district, it has managed to achieve a reduction in school dropout rate to just 5 per cent from the previous 20 per cent.
The report indicates that in Salima, school enrollment has gone up by 34 per cent in the period of the first JPGE.
JPGE is being implemented in three district of Salima, Dedza and Mangochi, and it targets education zones that have negative indicators in area of school enrollment, drop-outs and teen pregnancies.