On the 30th of November, Malawi’s Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare officially launched the National Adult Literacy and Education Strategic Plan (2022-2027). The goal of this strategy is to increase literacy and enhance skills development and education through lifelong learning among adults for effective participation in personal, community, and national development by 2027. DVV International provided both technical and financial support towards the development of the strategy.
The launch was accompanied by Malawi’s Government’s call for joint efforts to increase integrated adult education programmes across the country. The Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Jean Sendeza, stated that existing adult education programmes should increasingly go beyond literacy and numeracy. “Apart from teaching how to read and write, and arithmetic, adult literacy programmes should also provide opportunities for the acquisition of knowledge and skills in areas such as agriculture, business management, family planning, nutrition and home management, hygiene and sanitation, natural resources and environmental management, human rights, leadership and democracy at local levels,” Sendeza said.
Malawi Government statistics show that the illiteracy rate among women currently stands at 35.2 percent and at 19.4 percent among men in rural areas. In urban areas, 5.6 percent of men are illiterate compared to 10 percent of women.
The vision of the strategy is to see that Malawi has inclusive, equitable and sustainable adult literacy and skills programmes that are accessible for all. This vision supports the objective of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal Number 4 that calls for education for all. In order to achieve the set vision, the strategy will be guided by partnerships, collaboration and networking.
The successful launch of the strategy follows on an earlier milestone achieved when Malawi’s Government approved the National Adult Literacy and Education Policy in 2020.
At the start of the event, Sendeza, accompanied by German Ambassador to Malawi, Ute König, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe, DVV International Malawi Board chairperson Ruth Mwandira and other dignitaries visited various pavilions showcasing different outputs from Adult Learning and Education (ALE) courses. One of the displayed items were the locally made shirts produced by tailors that were trained in pilot Community Learning Centres (CLCs). The CLCs, implemented by DVV International in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, are designed to provide a supportive and inclusive environment for adults to jointly engage in learning activities, acquire new skills and knowledge relevant to them.
Her Excellency Ambassador König urged the Malawi Government to channel resources in terms of personnel, infrastructure and finance to make ALE operational to communities, adult educators, without whom ALE cannot succeed. “Germany through its Federal Ministry of economic cooperation and development (BMZ), which works here [Malawi] in this context through DVV International is ready to support this noble effort,” said König.
DVV International’s Regional Director, Gerhard Quincke, emphasised the need for stakeholders in the ALE sector to work closely in implementing the launched Strategic Plan – with its main objective to achieve progress in local community development.
DVV International will continue to support the implementation of the strategy throughout the next years.