The UKFIET Conference 2023 and beyond

Link Malawi Country Director, Harold Kuombola, shares his reflections on the UKFIET conference.

It’s morning on a school day in a typical community, deep in a rural district of Malawi. A common sight is school-aged adolescents, often carrying young babies, roaming the village trying to make a sale to earn a living. With no functional literacy and numeracy, the heavy burden is clear.

As we reflect with the 800-other attendees at this year’s UKFIET conference on the theme ‘Education for social and environmental justice: diversity, sustainability, responsibility’, the TEAM Girl Malawi project colleagues stand with those advocating for stronger efforts to support voices from the global south and overcome power in aid to incorporate all voices. UKFIET called to balance human activity for sustainable biodiversity and transform lives of adolescents particularly in remote settings. Key for TEAM Girl Malawi is thinking of education beyond the academics, and look towards education for biodiversity, social justice and responsibility.

With targeted support, TEAM’s out-of-school youth have demonstrated its possible through education to ease pressure on and/or overdependence on biodiversity. Having achieved a 77% increase in numeracy and a similar increase in literacy, alongside a 74% improvement in life skills, these gains set them off on journeys to better livelihoods. At UKFIET we joined voices to pay special attention to those with disabilities, who deserve equal opportunities for a quality life. Governments must strengthen their support to those who are often left out.

Written by Link Malawi Country Director, Harold Kuombola