Across the globe, most will agree that Coronavirus has been relentless
It has seen nations with strong healthcare systems buckle under its pressure. It has caused stable economies to rock and look tenuous, only to reveal how fragile the concept of ‘stability’ is. Europe and Asia were first hit, and are only now starting to grapple with the consequences.
Africa was first introduced to Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) in mid-February. The first confirmed cases were from people who had travelled from abroad, including India and China. Whilst most of the world are tentatively starting to open up borders and return to an element of normalcy, the active number of cases and deaths are increasing in Africa. In Malawi, as of June 16th, they had 555 new Coronavirus cases and 6 deaths.
The president of Malawi has banned foreign nationals from entering and has ordered returning Malawians to self-quarantine. But borders remain open, creating the opportunity for Malawi (a land-locked country), to see a huge spike in cases. For example, the most recent cases in Africa are believed to have been transmitted locally, with South Africa seeing the largest number of COVID-19 cases. There is now a concern that the 100,000 Malawian migrant workers who live there, could be at risk of spreading it into Malawi by moving through the borders.
It will be children though, that see some of the greatest knock-on effects
Whilst children in the UK have stopped attending school because they are closed temporarily, there is no concern that they won’t return eventually. However, in Malawi, there is a high risk that many students will not be able to do so. With many parents having not been able to work during the pandemic, paying for school fees is not an economic priority. There are additional reasons why children may not return to school during this difficult time. Keeping children at home can help to ease the physical labour involved in running a household, such as collecting water or tending to food crops. Children can also provide additional incomes through through work, with evidence increasing to suggest that child labour is now on the rise in Malawi. A ramification of this is that inequalities amongst girls will also climb, as they are more vulnerable to exploitation in agriculture and domestic work. Without the means to access education, children in Malawi will cease to have autonomy over their lives and will struggle to escape systematic poverty.
So what is currently being done?
- The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has provided 10million USD to run a toll-free telephone hotline to support students and parents with their lessons
- Once schools reopen, the GPE grant will also help prepare teachers and provide remedial support to students through assessments, accelerated learning and second chance opportunities
- The ‘National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan’ created by the UN, in support of the Malawian government, will also help to mobilise short-term and long-term actions to ensure schooling can continue (though this plan needs a lot of funding for it to be actionable)
How is The Mlambe Project helping?
We will be fundraising through a month-long marathon, covering 7302 miles. A team of volunteers will cycle, run or walk the distance between UK and Malawi – 7302 miles (or a 15 hour flight if they get really tired)!
The challenge started on 1st June and ends on 30th June. They still have a way to go, so please support our work in Malawi (as well as moral support for our athletes) by donating. Donations will go towards various projects;
- The Mlambe Project COVID nursery feeding response
- Our Doubling Schools project, which will help secure the right to quality education for 1000 marginalised children in rural Malawi by creating 240 additional schools
- Back-up funds to support us through the difficult COVID-19 times ahead.
Any contributions would be most appreciated! Donation link is below;