Gender-based violence (GBV) is the most pervasive yet least recognized human rights violation in the world (Heise, Ellsberg, and Gottmoeller 2002). No longer only a general community issue, GBV has also infiltrated social places such as schools.

Despite numerous interventions to curb GBV in general, and school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) in particular, cases of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse are escalating in Malawi. This worrisome situation has unfortunately rendered futile the Malawi government’s positive gender policy framework and past GBV interventions by local nongovernmental organizations.

Studies on SRGBV in Malawi report that cases of abuse and violence relate to the age and sex of victims. Violence and abuse mostly target the young and females (Bisika 2009; Burton 2005). In the Malawian education sector specifically, the research on sexual violence in primary schools has been inadequate. Thus, this study focused on primary education to ascertain the prevalence, patterns, and ways of dealing with SRGBV in Malawian primary schools. Could SRGBV affect students’ school performance, their ability to focus, and their ability to learn?

Read the full article about gender-based violence by Madalo Samati at Brookings.