EU support to Youth in Malawi

Both the National Indicative Programme 2014-2020 and the Multi-Annual Indicative Programme  2021-2027 supported and will support those aspirations set in Malawi’s long term development strategies. In particular, and in connection to the “Malawi 2063 Agenda”, recently endorsed, the European Union is working with the Government of Malawi GoM on enhancing the contribution of one of its most valuable assets, youth and women.

Even though Malawi’s high population growth is placing enormous pressure to sustain livelihoods and to deliver jobs and quality social services, it represents at the same time a strong opportunity if the country succeeds in harnessing the youth potential and realise a demographic dividend. In particular, putting gender equality and women’s empowerment at the core of policies and programmes is seen as a powerful lever for the higher impact activities transforming demographic trends.

Youth Initiatives-Malawi

Both the National Indicative Programme 2014-2020 and the Multi-Annual Indicative Programme  2021-2027 supported and will support those aspirations set in Malawi’s long term development strategies. In particular, and in connection to the “Malawi 2063 Agenda”, recently endorsed, the European Union is working with the Government of Malawi GoM on enhancing the contribution of one of its most valuable assets, youth and women.

Even though Malawi’s high population growth is placing enormous pressure to sustain livelihoods and to deliver jobs and quality social services, it represents at the same time a strong opportunity if the country succeeds in harnessing the youth potential and realise a demographic dividend. In particular, putting gender equality and women’s empowerment at the core of policies and programmes is seen as a powerful lever for the higher impact activities transforming demographic trends.

EU support to youth cuts across the three main priority areas presented by the MIP:

Priority area 1: Green and resilient economic transformation.

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • General environment protection
  • Energy

Priority area 2: Democratic and economic governance

  • Government & civil society-general
  • Business & Other Services

Priority area 3: Human development and social inclusion

  • Education
  •  Other social infrastructure & service.

In particular though, youth focused interventions contribute to the achievement of the Specific Objectives in the areas of:

  1. “Advancing democracy, human rights and the rule of law” (Democratic and economic governance - MIP priority area 2) and
  2.  “Advancing quality education and skills and Strengthening social protection systems” (Human development and social inclusion - MIP priority area 3).

1) Advancing democracy, human rights and the rule of law

  1. Title: Young Women in Active Politics

Implementation Arrangements: Civil Society Organizations (Dan Church Aid, Women’s Legal Resource Center)

Budget: EUR 1,008,000.00

Implementation period: 2018-2021 (concluded)

 

The project aimed at promoting inclusion of young women between the ages of 15 – 35 in active politics. The intervention worked on addressing the limited inclusion and participation of this group, in decision-making though dialogue with political parties and political leaders, peer-to-peer mentorship, linkages to credit facilities and personal and leadership skills empowerment. By the end of 2021, the project reached approximately 60,000 young women across six districts. The project succeeded in getting up to 481 leadership positions, including positions within political parties (as youth directors and campaign directors at grassroots level and attaining a seat in Village Development Committees and Area Development Committees).

  1. Title: National Initiative for Civic Education

Implemented with National Institute for Civic Education - NICE

Budget: EUR 10,000,000 (part of the broader Chilungamo, Justice and Accontability programme)

Implementation period: 2017-2022 (on-going)

The main objective of the project is, “to contribute towards the promotion of democracy and good governance in Malawi, through civic and voter education.” It seeks to achieve this by consolidating the agenda of voices of accountability in relation to duty bearers, service providers, rights holders and beneficiaries of services. A significant portion of its target population are youth as they make up at least 70 percent the countries population. Youth are mainstreamed across all NICE structures as both recipients and delivery mechanism of civic education. Youth make up at least 40 percent of the NICE volunteer structure (a network of over 5000 volunteers through which NICE delivers its activities). Youths also comprise of at least 40 percent of membership within NICE District Advisory Forums. Amongst its numerous activities over the past year, NICE has intensified domestic electoral observation during 13 local government and parliamentary by-elections. These were conducted through 169 volunteers, at least 78 of which are youths.

  1. Title: Spotlight Initiative (SI) in Malawi

Implementation Arrangement: Government of Malawi in partnership with UN Agencies (UNICEF, UNFPA, UNWOMEN, UNDP).

Budget: EUR 28,000,000  

Implementation period: 2019-2023 (on-going)

 

In upholding the “Leaving No One Behind” principle, the Spotlight Initiative, implemented over 6 districts in the country, partnered with a broad spectrum of civil society actors.

Main results of the programme:

  • Advancing gender-sensitive laws and policies to end violence against women and girls:

Strengthened legal literacy on Sexual Based Gender Based Violence, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and child marriage among 1,100 key community stakeholders, including community leaders, religious leaders, informal and formal legislators. In collaboration with the National Council of Higher Education, a model Gender Policy was developed to support tertiary education institutions in institutionalizing a systematic response to Sexual Based Gender Based Violence, Harmful Practices and Reproductive Health and Rights , including sexual harassment in the workplace. To date, 25 private and public Universities have commenced adapting the model.

  • Enhanced services, access to quality information and data on Sexual Based Gender Based Violence and Reproductive Health and Rights:

To intensify demand for services, the SI reached 31,869 adolescent girls and young women with Sexual Based Gender Based Violence and Reproductive Health and Rightsmessages, prompting 10,322 adolescent girls and young women to access services. A total of 15,120 Sexual Based Gender Based Violence cases were followed up, of which 180 cases were concluded in Court with jail sentences and including the annulment of 1,116 child marriages. Through the Survivor and Community funds, 5,312 adolescent girls and young women accessed services and escaped violence.

  • Leadership to prevent violence and build women’s movements:

Through different strategies targeting school age children and youth, the Spotlight Initiative empowered 373,108 learners to actively defend themselves against violence, challenge harmful social norms, and effectively report/ refer incidents of violence. Additionally, 11,653 mentees from 435 mentorship safe spaces continue to fight against Sexual Based Gender Based Violence as ‘’Agents of Change’’ in their communities with the support of the programme. In line with the National Male Engagement strategy developed under the Spotlight Initiative, 1,253 men and boys were also mobilized as HeForShe champions to transform negative attitudes and behaviours of other men and boys.

In the pipeline (2022)

Title: Malawi Democratic Governance Programme – Boma Lathu (Our Government), Budget: 17M EUR

Implementation period: 2022-2026

The Action contributes to advancing democracy and human rights in Malawi and envisages 3 interlinked areas of work:

  • Transparent and credible electoral processes and a pluralist democratic system;
  • Participation, in particular of women, youth and disadvantaged groups, in democratic processes;
  • Efficiency and effectiveness of civil registration services, while safeguarding human rights and data privacy.

The Boma Lathu programme will further, among the other things, the work initiated with previous initiatives on enhancing youth participation in democratic processes.

In particular, the programme envisages a new partnership with the National Institute of Civic Education focusing on creation of citizen demand for governance and contribution to the national building process through areas of electoral engagement and peaceful existence and active participation in decision-making in particular of underrepresented groups (including youth). 

A significant component of the action will also be delivered through Civil Society Organisations to increase women and youth involvement and uptake through a bottom-up approach. In doing so the Action also aims at strengthening the role of civil society at local level while enhancing the civil society space.

Finally, elements of support to youth will be substantially mainstreamed in the other components of the programme targeting Election and national registration through a partnership with the Malawi Government and UNDP.

2) Advancing quality education and skills and Strengthening social protection systems

 

  1. Title: Improving Secondary Education in Malawi (ISEM) Phase I and II

Implementation Arrangements: Government of Malawi

Budget: EUR 36,000,000 (Phase I) and EUR 55,000,000 (Phase II)

Implementation period: Phase I 2016-2020 (concluded); Phase II 2021 – 2026 (ongoing)

ISEM aims at supporting 1) access to, 2) quality of and 3) management and governance of secondary education service delivery. Its overall objective is to contribute to strengthening the capacity of the Malawian education sector to satisfy the needs of the economy for educated youth through expanding and improving equitable access to inclusive quality education. To achieve this, ISEM focuses on: Upgrading infrastructure of selected secondary schools; Increasing enrolment, retention, and completion rates at secondary schools particularly for female and vulnerable students; Supporting implementation of the new secondary education curricula; Providing secondary schools with appropriate teaching and learning resources; Improving teachers’ pedagogical and technical skills; Supporting the Ministry of Education  in improving the governance and management of the secondary education subsector; and Implementing the decentralized approach to the management of secondary schools in Malawi.

The project targets about 350 secondary schools in total.    

Main results of the 1st Phase of the programme: The refurbishment of 22 Community Day Secondary Schools in Kasungu, Dowa, Mchinji, Lilongwe, Balaka and Phalombe districts provide access and safe learning environments through hostels with matron’s houses, practical, safe and dignified WASH facilities for girls to manage menstrual hygiene, plus 12 of the schools with counselling services and SRGBV reporting and referral systems. Girls report a sense of prestige in attending; CDSS were previously considered second rate but students and teachers are prouder and more motivated to be associated with them now. A 37% increase in girls’ enrolment in ISEM-I supported CDSSs (24% for boys) verifies this. 

During ISEM I, 1500 girls were empowered with a better understanding of their sexual health and reproductive rights and leadership training, 2585 girls got bursaries (76% of the 3400 made available) and 1166 girls and vulnerable boys got bicycles. As a result, the dropout has halved from 7.6% to 3.8% in ISEM supported CDSSs for boys and girls.

ISEM I was also instrumental in supporting the Ministry of Education in the areas of teacher training through the establishment of cost effective practices for teachers’ continuous professional development and in the introduction of and the orientation on the new secondary curriculum. In total, ISEM reached 5,930 teachers and supported the production of distribution of 53,000 syllabi and 16,500 orientation manuals.

In general and looking at outcome level achievements, ISEM I targeted schools performed consistently and significantly above the national average in terms of access (enrolment), internal efficiency (retention/completion/dropout rates) and learning outcomes.

  1. Title: Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP)

Implementation Arrangements Government of Malawi in partnership with UN Agencies (UNESCO) and Civil Society Organizations.

Budget: EUR 32,600,000

Implementation period: 2016-2020 (concluded);

The STEP programme focused on promoting equitable access to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) through the  construction/rehabilitation and provision of equipment to 28 training institutions across the country; enhancing quality and relevance of TVET provision; and increasing equity in the system through the provision of training opportunities (both formal and informal) mostly for vulnerable youths (including street children, ex-inmates, albinos, youth belonging to vulnerable households, out of school girls, etc..).

Main Results of the programme:

By the end of the implementation period, the project successfully handed over 40 fully equipped new workshops to 28 targeted TVET institutions. The workshops are now operational with government funding and contribute to an additional intake of around 3,000 students per year.

Through its equity component, mainly implemented by private training providers, the programme provided training and better jobs prospects to roughly 5,000 youth.

  1. Title: Skills for Jobs – “Zantchito"

Implementation Arrangements: Government of Malawi in partnership with UN Agencies (UNDP), the British Council and Civil Society Organizations.

Budget: EUR 55,000,000

Implementation period: 2021 - 2026 (ongoing);

In line with the Government priorities on job creation and the Vision 2063, the program intends to strengthen the link between training and employment and to support a more relevant response to the economy’s need for skilled professionals, in particular easing the transition toward decent jobs and self-employment for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates and young entrepreneurs, in particular women.

 

The action promotes the expansion and improvement of equitable, safe and gender-balanced vocational education and training opportunities through policy reform and the establishment of Centres of Vocational Excellence (4).

Zantchito envisages also strong equity component, to be implemented via Civil Society Organizations and a combination of private and public training providers, targeting mainly out of school youth, suitable to access informal TVET opportunities.

Finally, the action will create a framework that can support and accompany the TEVET graduates and other youth, in particular girls, to start their own businesses through tailored incubation services.

In addition, and complementing the bilateral support, the EUD is also supporting and facilitating the implementation in Malawi of the following global initiatives:

 

  1. Title: Erasmus+ in Malawi

Since 2014, the Erasmus+ Programme has awarded various scholarships to 44 Malawian students to attend courses in several European Universities. 4 Malawian students have been awarded an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master scholarship for the academic years 2022-2024. The Erasmus+ programme is strongly aligned to the Malawi Vision2063, and specifically to the human capital development, innovation and improvement of the education system.

  1. Title: AU-EU Pan-African Programme “Skills for Youth Employment”; Supporting Alliance for African Mobility Programme (SAAM) in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training system.

The support of the European Union in Malawi to the skills/ Technical and Vocational Education and Training and employment sector is constantly evolving. Given the rapid technological developments taking place in the labour market, flexibility, adaptability and continuous learning in training programmes have become a major requirement. 

The European Union and the African Union under the Pan-African Programme Skills for Youth Employment jointly supported a pilot international mobility scheme in the TEVET sector with the objective to exchange knowledge, technical and pedagogical skills of VET staff, instructors and students. The network links 24 countries (8 from EU and 16 from Africa), more than 50 Vocation Education Training institutes (14 in Africa) with focus on engineering and manufacturing, hospitality and agri-tevet. Overall, more than 500 beneficiaries are expected to participate in this programme.

As for Malawi, 2 staff, 2 instructors and 15 additional students (5 girls) from the Don Bosco Youth Technical Institute in Lilongwe are heading to Centro San Viator in Spain for one month to enhance their knowledge in automotive and electronics trades. The programme will offer labour market oriented skills by coupling theoretical, practical as well as exposure to some European private companies operating in the sector. 

In the pipeline (2023)

Title: Empowering Malawi’s poorest and most vulnerable girls and women– Programme under development

Budget: 59M EUR

Implementation period: 2023-2026

Breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty is a precondition for inclusive and sustainable development. Poverty and inequality affect women and girls disproportionately more, narrowing their access to social services and economic opportunities. The prevalence of violence against women and girls and the perpetuation of harmful practices are additional factors undermining girls’ and women’s empowerment and their participation in and contribution to developing the country.

The Action intends to primarily work with households living in extreme poverty (over 20% of the population, mostly headed by women) targeting girls and women with the aim of enhancing their resilience and strengthening their economic and social rights and empowerment.

The Action builds on and merges successful EU funded initiatives currently on-going in the fields of social protection (the SoSuRe Programme) and gender (the Spotlight Initiative), to offer an integrated and sustainable set of services relevant to key vulnerabilities throughout the beneficiaries’ lifecycle.

In particular, the programme will support the government’s Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP), including in standardising the provision of complementary services to ultra-poor, mostly women-headed households and the establishment of formal referral pathways, contributing to resilience building and economic empowerment and to enhancing human development and social inclusion of women and girls.