USAID’s Let Girls Learn AMAA (Give Girls a Chance to Learn) project in Malawi seeks to deliver a range of district specific activities to mitigate the barriers to girls’ enrollment and retention in school. The project will work in five priority districts including Balaka, Machinga, Phalombe, Mzimba and Chikwawa, targeting girls aged 10-19 in both upper primary and secondary schools. Led by Save the Children, AMAA will work with local and international NGOs as well as NORC, the Ministry of Education in Malawi, and plans to partner with USDA to mitigate the barriers preventing girls’ enrollment and retention in school.
Malawi is an extremely poor country, with 41 percent of its population living in poverty, and a low ranking of 173 out of 187 countries in the 2015 UN Development Program Human Development Index. More than 80 percent of Malawians live in rural areas and depend largely on rain-fed agriculture, which is highly vulnerable to recurrent drought, climatic variation, and natural disasters. Malawi periodically experiences major reductions in food production due to climatic shocks, and the situation is exacerbated by an unfavorable policy environment, low investment in agriculture, and lack of agriculture diversification.
“I'm convinced that a world in which women and girls are treated as equal to men and boys, is safer, more stable, and more prosperous. – President Barack Obama in a statement commemorating International Women’s Day, March 8, 2015
“For the first time, the youth are being considered in all development initiatives taking place in this area…we have developed a good relationship with our Local Councilor and our representatives in Parliament and are able to meet them regularly to follow up on issues that matter to us.” – Isaac Benson Scale, Youth and Civic Education, on USAID’s Civic and Voter Education Project
El Niño occurs when the Pacific Ocean warms and disrupts weather around the globe. In Malawi, where the rains were delayed in places by up to two months, the ongoing El Niño has resulted in a severe drought, and led to failed crops for many subsistence farmers. Due to its poverty levels, increasing population, and advanced environmental degradation, Malawi is especially vulnerable to climatic shocks and hard-won development gains are fragile in the face of climatic shocks such as those caused by El Niño.
Last updated: April 21, 2017