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Celebrating International Women's Day with Vitumbiko Chaponda

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8th March and the theme for 2023 was “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” NNP visited Chiuzimbi Primary School in Lilongwe to chat with one of its teachers: Vitumbiko Chaponda.
Chiuzimbi Primary School has 1,783 students/learners (864 boys and 919 girls) and all teachers at the school (38) including the headteacher are FEMALE making this school an ideal school to profile for IWD. Vitumbiko Chaponda teaches standard 4 which has a total of 224 learners (110 boys and 114 girls). Below is the interview we had with her.

Please introduce yourself:  I am Vitumbiko Chaponda at Chiuzimbi primary school, I have been teaching as a primary school teacher since 12th May 2014.
Why do you like most about teaching most:  Mostly I like teaching because you really associate with the learners, I like the life, I always love and like the children and the lives of the children and I always make sure that the learners should get something at the end of the day, and that’s what I will always do each and every day of my life.
What do you think IWD is all about: International Women’s day is a day that we celebrate the good work that women are doing in this world. It encourages us that we should not underrate ourselves, we can do anything without men.

Why is it important to have strong female leadership in education:  It is important to have strong female leadership in education because most women do not allow corruption, so they always encourage other stakeholders not to do corruption. I think women and the strongest leaders.
How has the programme helped to develop your leadership skills:  NNP has improved our leadership skills because it introduced Teacher Learning Circles (TLCs) where all standard 1- 4 teachers come together and discuss all the problems we are facing during the classes with the learners so we come together, share ideas and come up with the solutions to help the learners.
Why are female role models so important for girls:  Female role models are always important at school or everywhere because they make the girl child to have an image that “I should be like Madam Vitumbiko Chaponda.” For me to become a teacher it also took time, I really admired my teachers who were teaching me when I was at primary, that’s I became a teacher so it is always important for a girl child to have a role model, to have an image that “who am I going to be when I grow up” and she will always be encouraged to work hard - so that we can produce a good Malawi.
What are the challenges in progressing in the education sector as a woman:
Some of the challenges we face in Education as a teacher are lack of resources; nowadays there are few resources that are coming in our schools so it is very difficult for us to deliver the lesson without teacher, learning and assessment resources. For a lesson to be delivered fully equipped, we need to have resources but we only have a few in terms of income that come to our school. Another challenge is that people underrate us since we are lady (female) teachers, they think we can not manage to do anything on our own. But for myself to be a teacher, I really enjoy it and I love my profession and I don’t regret being a teacher. Another challenge is distance; to other teachers, it is a barrier, they come from far away and our school has few houses so that is a very big challenge at our school.A lot of people think that teaching is a useless job, especially in Primary school, being a woman as well doesn’t help. For example in our school we are only female teachers the whole school, male teachers never want to teach in primary, our profession is underrated and yet we all begin from primary. You cannot be a graduate without primary. We are the least paid in our profession, and teachers are underrated everywhere which demotivates learners to become teachers and other people to pursue teaching, it is a big challenge in education.

A Happy 2023 International Women's Day to all women!!!