UNESCO changing lives in Malawi through EU-funded STEP

04 - Quality Education

I am not a young woman anymore, many years ago I was forced to leave school. Now I have a chance to learn again, I did not imagine it could happen.

Fatsani Mwale.

Fatsani is a direct beneficiary of the UNESCO/European Union (EU) supported Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP) being implemented in Malawi.

She participated in the Solar PV installation skills training conducted by UNESCO through its partnership with Zayed Energy and Ecology Centre Solar Academy (ZEEC).  

“It’s exciting to be equipped with Solar PV installation skills,” said Fatsani adding that she hopes to inspire young girls to go into any profession they want to. 

“Girls should not be held back by old stereotypes,” she quipped.

With STEP support, ZEEC is delivering a bursary programme for students to get skills in the area of solar PV installation, electronics, and entrepreneurship. The bursary programmes are being implemented by various organisations that have partnered with UNESCO under the EU-funded STEP.

One of the objectives of STEP is to promote equitable and gender-based access to technical, entrepreneurial, and vocational education and training (TEVET), and most of the bursary holders are women or vulnerable persons.

STEP Team Leader, Arthur Shears said over 400 people have benefited from the bursary programmes adding that women, who are under-represented in TEVET, as well as persons with disabilities are important beneficiaries of STEP.

“STEP is partnering with local training centres such as ZEEC which is conducting a bursary programme for women in solar installation and repair, Development and Integration of Persons with Disabilities (DIPD) which is training people with various types of disabilities and Students Driven Solutions which empowers women with entrepreneurship skills,” he said.

The main aim of the bursary programmes is to ensure that vulnerable groups are financially independent.

The overall objective of STEP is to strengthen the vocational education and training sector and its capacity to satisfy the economy’s need for skilled professionals through expansion and improvement of equitable and gender-balanced vocational education and training.  STEP is funded by the European Union and is partially implemented by UNESCO.