BRAVE a young adolescence after-school programme. Aims: To empower young girls and boys to attend school, to value each other and to work hard. To discuss issues of sex, gender, violence, equality and social change.
Delivered to both girls and boys in rural schools in Malawi.
Onto the practicalities of the past eight months.
Since January, project BRAVE has completed workshops in 7 Primary Schools. In Malawi, Primary School goes up to a year 9 equivalent. Secondary School is then your four final years of schooling. Working towards JCE exams for two years and MSCE exams for the final two years.
We deliver the BRAVE programme to Standard 6 in Primary Schools. Research has shown education in pre-adolescence is effective for mindset change and future-impacting decision-making.
The 7 schools:
Kachere 19 girls 11 boys
Masuku 17 girls 11 boys
Mbame 39 girls 39 girls
Ntayamwana 18 girls 9 boys
Mtemaumo 12 girls 14 boys
Nankhufi Noble 21 girls 12 boys
St Mary's Chimwabvi 13 girls 18 boys
The BRAVE project consists of once-a-week afternoon workshops for 12 weeks. The workshops deliver a Malawian curriculum, exploring concepts of gender, roles, and equality; as well as reproduction education and critical conversations on rights, gender-based violence and sexual abuse.
The workshops involve mixed sessions and split girl/boy sessions. Icebreaker challenges and activities bring out confidence and encourage freedom in discussing challenging topics.
Along with workshops, two of the schools, Mbame and St Mary's Chimwabvi, delivered a role-play drama to the school, parents, teachers, chiefs and local community police officers.
These were a powerful way to communicate to teachers and parents about some unhelpful commonplace behaviours in Malawi. There was much laughter, embarrassment and some pointing of fingers. Well received in both schools, the topic has opened doors for conversations and will be an instrument of positive change.
We have also worked with Mbame police to deliver school talks about community and safety.
As part of this outreach, we took two school trips to the new safe house at the police station to raise awareness of its services and purpose.
Some feedback from some of the students:
Patricia 15 years old
Thank you for coming to my school, I have been so encouraged by the trainings. Thank you for the education and the discussions. Most of all thank you for the pads, because I have been skipping school each month during my period. I have never owned reliable materials to cope with my period. Please don't stop giving more girls these things, there are so many of us who face the challenges of a period without pads.
Mtemaumo Standard 6 group statement:
The students at Mtemaumo primary school held a reflection session and decided to create good relationships with each other. Helping each other to make their school a happier and healthier place. They missioned to motivate each other and the community to reduce inequalities. They are starting a club for "civilisation and human activity" to maintain ideals for future generations and help finish their education and break the cycle of poverty in the community.
Evergreen aged 14
I decided to leave school. I didn't have a reason. I have 6 siblings, 5 of who also dropped out of school. I decided to come to BRAVE workshops because of the sanitary materials. From the sessions, I decided I wanted to go back to school, and I also received extra counselling sessions through the project, which have helped me come back to school and make good decisions for my future.
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