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CYD Partners MUTAG to demystify Girl child challenges

The Centre for Youth and Development has collaborated with the Mzuzu University Theatre Arts Group to produce an adapted theatrical production called “The Chief’s Blanket” written by Smith Likongwe and directed by Misheck Mzumara, Misheck Banda and William Maulidi. The play will be premiered in Mzuzu at the Mzuzu University Open Auditorium from 2:30 PM and later performed at Club 31 from 6:30 PM on Tuesday 6th July 2021. 

The play focuses on Laika, a young girl determined to become a nurse but faces a lot of challenges in realizing her dreams. Society expects her to marry and have children, unfortunately, even ladies find her dream ridiculous. They advocate that a woman’s best dream is to have a husband and take care of a home. Laika is young not even 14 when she’s chosen to sleep with a chief. Through Laika, the play mirrors what many young girls in Malawi and equally in other developing countries go through. 

In Malawi, children face multiple challenges in accessing education, including; long distances to school, high secondary school fees, poor quality of education and school infrastructure themselves. For girls, more difficulties are added to these barriers: significant demand on the labour of the girl-child at the household level, increases in early marriages and pregnancies; poor physical and sanitary conditions; increases in gender-based violence and sexual harassment. 

There is however evidence to show that educating girls impacts and benefits all sectors of development. Specifically, investing in girls’ education contributes to reduced child mortality; an increase in economic growth; increases in farm yields which is especially important in Malawi because 85% of the population are farmers. 

“Education is the single most important social and economic factor and girls’ access to education is a priority for the good of all and we should be mindful that Education is not a luxury but a basic human need that should be guaranteed to everyone. We are excited to partner with MUTAG to demystify the challenges that girls face in accessing education as we recognise theatre is a language that many can easily understand”

James Gondwe, founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Youth and Development.

Centre for Youth and Development’s mission is to empower children, youth and women to thrive and develop to their full potential by expanding opportunities for education, livelihoods and health. The play resonates with the mission of the CYD as it triggers a debate on issues that a girl child faces thereby leading to the exploration of alternatives for girls who find themselves in similar situations. 

“The support provided by CYD is appreciated as it makes it possible for MUTAG to produce this play and enable us to use theatre to speak out on issues that are affecting the Girl-child in Malawi. We are excited for the partnership and look out for further engagements in future”. 

Said Misheck Mzumara, Artistic Director of the Mzuzu University Theatre Arts Group. 

MUTAG belongs in the Department of Languages, Cultural & Creative studies and its mission is to produce high quality theatre for both education and entertainment purposes. The Centre for Youth and Development is excited to partner them on this exciting project and looks forward to the good patronage of the shows. 

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