29 September 2016 Last updated at: 7:13 AM

AWARD fellows inspire Mchinji students

In a bid to promote girls’ education in the country, two women under an umbrella body called African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) have taken up an initiative to encourage girls to work hard in school through role modeling events.

The two passionate women, Zione Kalumikiza and Veronica Guwela who are both fellows for African women in agricultural research and development, recently conducted motivational talks to over 400 students at Misale community Day secondary school in Mchinji where among other things they encouraged young girls to be focused in class in order to meet their dreams.


Students pose for a photo with AWARD representatives.

Zione Kalumikiza is a lecture at Lilongwe University of agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) while Veronica Guwela is a production specialist, majoring in Cassava value adding for Africal at Chancellor College, a Constituent College of the University of Malawi.

Speaking in an interview, Kalumikiza who also runs a local organization called Malawi 4 Her (M4H) which gives scholarships to needy girls said they came up with the idea of conducting role modeling events for secondary schools girls after realizing that girls are usually victims of early marriages and pregnancies due to lack of people they can look up to.

“As a lecturer, one of my responsibilities is not only to teach but also to conduct outreach and research, personally I am also passionate to see girls succeeding in life, for me role modeling is part of my job which is to teach because it gives me an opportunity to reach out to different people outside university doors and corridors including girls, and I also happen to be from Mchinji district so this is one way of giving back to my community,” she said.

Kalumikiza said students must also have role models and mentors whom they can learn from.

Veronica Guwela described the event as one way of promoting self-awareness, decision making, self-esteem and resilience among girls. She told the students that self-discipline is also a key to success.

One of the girls, a student at Misale CDSS, Theodora Daimon said she was challenged by the talks and will work hard in class to achieve her goals.

“I have benefited a lot from the session we hard, I have learnt that success is by choice, I choose to succeed in my life, from today I will work hard in class so that I can achieve my goals,” she said.

AWARD is a career development program that equips top women agricultural scientists across sub- Saharan Africa to accelerate agricultural gains by strengthening their research and leadership skills.

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