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NIKHALAMO – “Girl Child Stay in School” – Project Launched in Namacurra, Zambezia

NAMACURRA, ZAMBÉZIA, 3 OCTOBER 2014 – “To educate a girl is to educate a nation. However, many girls in our district do not complete school because of poverty, early marriages, teenage pregnancies and poor school infrastructure.” These words, pronounced by one of the representatives of the local primary schools in Namacurra district, summarized the concerns of all present during the launch of the NIKHALAMO Project, held on the 3rd of October 2014 at the Cultural Center (Casa da Cultura) of Namacurra, Zambézia Province.

NIKHALAMO is a word in the local language (Chuabo) and means, freely translated, “Girl Child, Stay in School”. The objective of the 4-year (2015-2018) NIKHALAMO Project is to ensure that vulnerable girls in Namacurra district (Zambezia Province) complete upper primary school and transit to lower secondary schools (6th and 7th grades). The Project is made possible through the support from the US Government (USG) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and it is implemented by ADPP Mozambique (Development Aid from People to People).

To reach its objective, the Project will work in close collaboration with the district and local education authorities to promote girls’ education within the local communities and to address various issues that keep girls out of school, including by establishing community pre-schools and by offering community block grants to ensure that even the poorest families have the means to educate their girls.

The Project will also seek to improve the learning environment at the local schools by enhancing their water and sanitation conditions and by sensitizing teachers, students, and school council and community members about gender issues, including gender roles and stereotypes, violence against women and girls, sexual abuse and bullying, thereby making schools safer, healthier and more child-friendly.

Finally, the Project will also aim to enhance the students’ academic performance and life skills by promoting a strong reading culture, both in schools and at home, and through a special mentorship support program. The specially trained Girls Education Mentors will carry out training sessions and community-based activities addressing various issues related to the wellbeing of girls, including issues related to physical and sexual health, hygiene, and social skills, enhancing thus the self-awareness and self-esteem of the young girls.

The NIKHALAMO Project will reach altogether 3,250 vulnerable girls and work directly with 18 selected primary schools and 2 local secondary schools in the district of Namacurra.

Various government authorities, school headmasters, teachers, students, members of the school councils, traditional leaders, and the 15 specially trained Girl Education Promoters were present at the project launch. Speeches were given by Mr. Betinho Francisco, Director of SDAE (District Services for Economic Activities) representing the Office of the Administrator, Mr. Laurindo Bomba Soca, Chief in the Planning Office of SDEJT (District Services for Education, Youth and Technology), and the representatives of FAWEMO, ADPP Mozambique, the beneficiary primary and secondary schools, and the local communities. The cultural group from the EPC Coroa Primary School entertained the guests with songs on the importance of educating young girls.

“This is a momentous event for our district,” proclaimed Mr. Betinho Francisco, Director of SDAE. “To witness the project launch today is like a dream come true. The project is a real step in the right direction.”

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