Fount for Nations registers PIESEA project successes in Dowa

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The Fount for Nations, an organization implementing 30 months of Pamodzi Inclusive Education in South-East Africa (PIESEA) project, says it has trained 80 Information and education community champions in the areas of two traditional authorities, Dzoole and Mponela in Dowa district to lobby for resource centers and assistive devices in the district.

Presenting the project progress report to the District Executive Committee (Dec) at a meeting held at the Boma in Dowa district, the organization’s Advocacy and Communication Officer, Connex Kafera said PIESEA will be implemented in three countries; Malawi, Kenya, and Tanzania by consortium members such as Rays of Hope Ministries, Kesho Kenya, Shule Direct and Fount for Nations.

He said community champions are advocating against discrimination, negative attitudes, and cultural barriers towards children with disabilities and lobbying for funds for IE in their schools from NGOs, duty bearers, MPs, and councilors as well as inclusive education added in Village Action Plan (VAP) and School Improvement plan (SIP).

Kafera indicated that the project was being implemented to reduce the policy implementation and awareness gaps that exist between inclusive education policies and programming saying policymakers and education experts will have real-time data on special needs and inclusive education for better policy decision-making.

He said the Education sector will get increased funding for inclusive and Special Needs education as well as increased community demand in advocacy and lobbying for an enabling environment to support inclusive and special needs education.

However, Kafera said the project had challenges during implementation such as inflation and devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha, transfer of personnel in government offices, giving a space to inclusive education and it took time for stakeholders to understand the advocacy.

He also highlighted that the project had some lessons learned such as collaboration and partnership which are key in advocacy efforts, working with government structures to ensure the sustainability of the project, government political will to address the gaps in the inclusive education sector, and a strong drive and willingness on the part of donors and partners to support inclusive education in Malawi.

“There is a need to intensify awareness and advocacy for the rights of learners with disabilities in schools,” said Kafera.

He highlighted that the organization has put an exit strategy for the project such as conducting inclusive education learning visits with the Ministry of Education, development partners, and education officials at the district level and conducting a regional inclusive Education Symposium with IE implementors.

Kafera said the organization will also conduct closeout celebrations, monitoring visits for partners to appreciate what has been implemented in the district, and hold meetings with the District executive committee (Dec), Technical Working Group (TWG) as well as Area Development Committee (ADC).

The Pamodzi Inclusive Education in South-East Africa (PIESEA) project was implemented in the Dowa district from November 2021 to May 2024 with funding from OXFAM and IBIS amounting to 1,147,635.34 US Dollars.

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