Malawi: Dr. Biden, US Second Lady Announces $20 Million in Education Aid

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Dr. Jill Biden announced $20 million in aid for Malawi's education system


Dr. Jill Biden, US second lady, Wednesday afternoon met with Malawi's First Lady, Madame Gertrude Mutharika at the State House in Lilongwe

They discussed their countries' shared commitment to empowering women and girls, and fighting food insecurity.

Dr. Biden said she was happy with what she saw on Tuesday at Msamba Primary School in Zomba, the country's old capital city.  The school is assisted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's McGovern/Dole Food for Education program, which is implemented by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). It is also a USAID-supported Early Grade Reading (EGRA) pilot school.

"I know how important it is for us to support our students and ensure that they have the education that they need which in turn will create a brighter future for themselves and their families and their countries," Dr Biden said during the meeting at the State House.

"We know that the combined effects of the school feeding and early reading program are deeply importantin the lives of so many children, their familes and their communities."

She said the United States remain committed to supporting Malawi's development efforts.

Madame Mutharika told Dr. Biden that she was committed to women empowerment and girl child education. She commended Dr. Biden for her efforts to bring about gender equality and women empowerment globally.

"Malawi, like many countries in the world is still a society where women face numerous challenges including all forms of violence as well as discrimination, both socially and economically," Madame Mutharika said.

Dr. Biden who arrived Monday in Blantyre, Malawi's commercial city situated in the southern part of the country, has since departed Lilongwe en route to Niamey, Niger.

During the three-day visit Dr. Biden engaged government officials and civil society partners on issues related to economic empowerment and educational opportunities for women and girls, and food security.

On Tuesday she traveled to Manchinjiri to visit a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Food for Peace program being implemented by Catholic Relief Services, where she met with local families, community leaders, government officials and representatives from Catholic Relief Services and Save the Children to learn more about how the Food for Peace program is helping to address the challenges posed by the severe drought in Malawi caused by El Nino.

Dr. Biden also traveled to Msamba Primary School in Zomba.

On Wednesday morning, Dr. Biden flew to Lilongwe, where she visited Chigonthi Farmers' Cooperative in Mbangombe. She appreciated a Purchase for Progress (P4P), an initiative that leverages World Food Program's purchasing power and expertise in food quality and logistics to link smallholder farmers to agricultural markets. The initiative is supported by USAID.

At Mbang'ombe Dr Biden met with leaders of the farmer's cooperative and learnt more about how local farmers produce and sell their maize to WFP, both as a means of economic empowerment and to provide food for distribution in drought-stricken areas of the country.

Dr. Biden will have similar engagements in Niger.

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