A TEVET student at DAPP Mikolongwe Vocational School, Beatrice Alfred, has urged girls to choose technical education if they want to be financially independent. Alfred said this in Chikwawa during one of the outreach events organized by Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP) in partnership with Girl Effect Malawi (Zathu pa Wailesi).

In August, 30 outreach events in over 18 districts across the country were held to listen to the radio show Zathu Pa Wailesi and learn about vocational training and the opportunities it can bring young people to build a successful career, gain financial independence and develop a lifelong skill.

At the events, which attracted over 2000 young people, audiences discussed what they had heard on Zathu Pa Wailesi, listened to music from Zathu Band and also heard from graduates from TEVET colleges in their community, who shared their experience on the application process as well as their career life after graduating from college.

Alfred is one of the role models who inspired young people in Chikwawa district. She is studying Fabrication and Welding. “This trade will help me to be financially independent. I am doing my second year at DAPP Mikolongwe vocational school. When I finish my studies, I want to establish my own workshop,” she said. Alfred added that she is currently doing an internship at Illovo Sugar Company in Chikwawa as an assistant welder.

She urged young people, especially girls, to choose technical education if they want to be self-reliant. “There are so many opportunities out there, and TEVET is one of them. TEVET courses are male dominated, but this sector is for all of us. I urge girls to also choose technical education,” Alfred explained.

Howard Chapunduka was one of the participants in the outreach events. “Vocational skills are very important because they help to build the nation and also assist young people to be self-reliant and promote their lives through either businesses or employment,” he said.

Girl Effect has produced a bespoke drama story which started airing in July this year on various radio stations such as Malawi Broadcasting Station Radio 2 and YONECO FM. As part of the campaign, special features ran in the popular radio show, Zathu Pa Wailesi. In the Zathu Drama, fans of the show followed the story of TK’s best friend Carol, who found out about technical and vocational training opportunities and careers through Lyness, a woman who has a successful carpentry career in the community.

Audiences followed Carol’s journey in real time from finding out about vocational training through to submitting her application and winning her place to study plumbing.

Meanwhile, Zathu Pa Wailesi presenters C-Zee and DJ Goxy met with real-life TEVET graduates Faida and Olivia, who shared their stories of starting their careers in electrical services and welding.  Zathu Pa Wailesi’s wise Gogo also answered listener questions and shared information on how to apply for vocational training.