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Minister calls for more players in adult literacy

By Fostina Mkandawire

Salima, Mana: Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare,  Patricia Kaliati Monday bemoaned that high illiteracy rate in Salima district was hindering social economic development.

She made the remarks in Salima district in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Ndindi, when she appreciated the Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP).

Kaliati said as one way of implementing social responsibility initiatives, stakeholders should venture into adult literacy education.

She said high illiteracy rate was one of the challenges that was causing some beneficiaries not to yield intended results under the SCTP.

“Someone who cannot read and write cannot benefit fully from the SCTP, because these people when they start businesses they cannot count money correctly and people end up taking advantage of them,” the Minister said.

Kaliati urged partners implementing the programme to consider adult literacy as an additional skill to the monetary benefits that they are offering to individuals.

She said having a population of people who could at least write their name would be an achievement for the country.

“It is disheartening to see men and women who opt to stamp their name with ink instead of writing their names in letters, stakeholders should consider taking adult literacy as an important aspect of people’s development,” the Minister added.

TA Ndindi said was championing education awareness in his area and agreed with the Minister that high illiteracy levels in his area was fueling poverty.

“There are different interventions in this area to help in encouraging boys and girls to stay in school, however all this is going in vein because parents go behind our back and offer their blessings to their under aged children to get married,” he said.

Ndindi said boys and girls need role models to encourage them on the benefits of education; therefore the coming of the Minister and other officials in his area was an encouragement.

Acting Deputy Country Director for CARE Malawi, Lemekeza Mokiwa said they have been providing trainings in economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and business management.

He said they are impressed by the diversity of business ventures by women in the three years they have been implementing the programme in Salima.

“Women are now venturing in motorbike businesses, livestock production and opening shops, this type of diversity is what is keeping us hopeful that sustainability of this programme is possible,” Mokiwa said.

He added that, “The goal of the programme is to reduce poverty, improve livelihoods and enhance the resilience of rural households on a sustainable basis”.

One of the beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer Programme, Loviya Sumani from TA Ndindi said the programme has transformed her life, because she could now support her family financially.

“I have managed to construct a house with proper roofing, I have a child who is in college studying education I am able to pay his tuition fees buy groceries for him,” she said.

CARE International Malawi is one of the implementing partners of Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE), which is acting as an exit strategy for social protection and safety net interventions.

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