Michael Buckler (Malawi 2006–08) , author of the Peace Corps memoir From Microsoft to Malawi: Learning on the Front Lines as a Peace Corps Volunteer [Hamilton Books, 2010] has written an article for the website Humanosphere — “The not-so-easy task of educating girls“ — updating his efforts as a PCV to “help girls learn.” The piece is critical to understanding the obstacles that many young women face in trying to continue their education. Buckler describes the problems that young women had in his area.
The underlying causes were many. Although long distances from home to school plagued both sexes, boys were more likely to commute on a bicycle. Girls also faced intense pressure to drop out of school, get married, and perform domestic chores while at home. Girls who tried to overcome these obstacles by renting rooms near campus often faced unsanitary and unsafe living conditions, including sexual harassment from older men.
As a Volunteer he proposed building a dormitory for the young women. In this article he describes what happened with that plan, and its current and perhaps more encouraging status. You should read the article.
“Let Girls Learn” is a beginning. But as Buckler’s thoughtful analysis illustrates, it is only a beginning. His article should be mandatory reading for all Peace Corps/Washington staff, and be included in the training for current Volunteers.