The Power to Lead Alliance – Empowering Girls to Learn and Lead in Malawi

In recent years, interest in the issues surrounding adolescent girls has enjoyed a resurgence among development actors and donors interested in addressing poverty. Whereas significant gains have been made to help youth, especially girls, realize their potential as agents of transformation in their communities and societies, more needs to be done. Record investments in education and soaring numbers of students with access to primary education are met with the harsh reality that skills and competencies gained in most education systems are wholly inadequate to prepare young students as future leaders. Declining educational quality has meant poor uptake of new skills and less attention to critical thinking, problem solving, negotiation, communication and other important competencies for leadership development.

Moreover, girls suffer more acutely from the cumulative effects of the under-investment in human capacity development and lack of cultivation of leadership skills. With overall less free time than their male counterparts, they have less time for study or self-discovery play. They often assume traditional domestic roles and have fewer same-sex role models and mentors. Their care-giving roles in the family mean they stand to lose more of their childhood during hardships such as war, increased HIV in their communities, or food insecurity.

Engendering Empowerment: Education and Equality
Baric S, Tembo N