The National Centre for Literacy and Adult Education (NACLAE) in partnership with DVV International has trained 60 Adult Literacy Instructors (ALIs) on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures and combating Gender Based Violence (GBV). The interventions which took place from June 14 to 17 in Malawi’s central region districts of Ntcheu and Mchinji will enable the ALIs to guide adult literacy learners from their communities on how they can manage the pandemic and GBV that may arise during the COVID-19 crisis.
The trainings in both districts were carried out by national trainers on COVID-19 and GBV from the Ministries of Health and Gender respectively.
The trainees were also equipped with 60 megaphones so that apart from sharing information with the communities in face to face interactions they will also be able to disseminate community messages while observing social distancing.
According to NACLAE, the exercise also served as an important motivation for the instructors, affording them greater recognition within the community development system.
A total of 20 Village Savings and Loans groups (VSLs) from the two districts were also supported with various hygiene, hand washing and PPE materials to be used during their meetings in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including washing buckets, hand and surface sanitizers, face masks and gloves.
“These were intended to serve as starter packs and to help the recipients understand the importance of these materials in the COVID-19 response and to motivate them to prioritise their use and make them form part of their health budget,” stated NACLAE.
1,200 supplementary reading texts were also distributed to the instructors, 20 for each instructor, which they will lend out to learners so that they continue practising reading during this time when classes are suspended due to COVID-19 safety measures. These COVID-19 response interventions, funded by DVV International, will thus help to sustain literacy and numeracy skills for adult literacy learners in the participating communities.
Due to the worrying increase in cases of GBV globally since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, NACLAE also imparted knowledge and skills to adult instructors and learners on how they can manage and combat this situation in their communities.
Malawi registered its first case of COVID-19 on April 2, 2020. Following this, the government established a multi-stakeholder COVID-19 response approach, appealing to all stakeholders to contribute in supporting the Government to manage and combat the pandemic. In response, NACLAE, as the institution responsible for the implementation and management of adult literacy and education programmes throughout the country, with support from DVV International, designed and implemented the COVID-19 interventions in the selected districts. The measures aim to increase awareness among adult literacy instructors, learners and communities on the COVID-19 virus, and its transmission and prevention.
Ntcheu and Mchinji districts were chosen as pilot districts for the interventions as they are two districts where DVV International and NACLAE have already been working in partnership. Plans are underway to replicate the training in a further two districts (Mangochi and Nkhata Bay).
As of July 7th, 1,877 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Malawi, with sharp daily increases observed since the end of June. All but one district (Likoma) of the country have now registered cases of COVID-19.