We implemented the Right to Learn Project in Phalombe District from 2017 to 2019, working in partnership with Concern Worldwide and the Women’s Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC).

The project aimed to make schools into safer environments for children in Phalombe District – particularly girls. The project focused on reducing child marriage and early pregnancy and getting girls affected by these issues back into school and learning, and on reducing gender-based violence and discrimination in schools and communities.

We trained a total of 61 adults – teachers and local mothers’ group members from the 30 primary schools to become Agents of Change – the key champions for Right to Learn in their schools. We also trained all of the Headteachers, and 550 additional teachers, in child protection.

Our training helped the Agents of Change develop the confidence and skills to implement regular behaviour change workshops for the School Council and Girls’ Club – using our unique combination of drama and participatory learning to empower their learners.  

These workshops covered gender-based violence topics – such as gender expectations, cultural practices and school safety; child abuse and rights topics – such as child marriage, recognising the signs and consequences of child abuse, and positive discipline in school; and sexual and reproductive health and rights topics – such as contraception, saying no to sexual pressure, and HIV prevention.

Every school also had a community listening club made up of Agents of Change, learners and their parents or guardians – who together tuned into our weekly Interactive Radio Drama broadcasts across Malawi, which encourage listeners to take part in exploring issues around sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Girls’ Club has improved my confidence. I now look at the person I’m talking to without fear.

Girls’ Club Participant brought back to school