Mangochi: Mota-Engil, a Portuguese construction company currently building the Liwonde Mangochi Road on Friday conducted sensitization campaign to schools and communities along the road on health, safety and environment.
Mota – Engil conducted the campaign in four primary schools of Chimwala, Kausi, Kasolo and Njese in Mangochi and two primary schools of Nkhonde and Ferry in Balaka.
Social and Environmental Officer for Mota-Engil, Clain Kalanje, told Malawi News Agency (Mana) in an interview that the construction company felt duty bound to conduct the campaign following a number of issues surrounding the community and the company’s staff.
We are aware that Balaka and Mangochi are among the districts where child marriages and teen pregnancies are rampant and in the wake of HIV and AIDS, we thought it wise to sensitize school children, teachers, parents and local leaders to be cautious, Kalanje said.
He observed that wherever such construction works take place, ‘marriages of convenience’ and pregnancies always occur and that the practice leaves women and girls on the receiving end when the projects finish and the men return home.
Kalanje, therefore, warned girls and women not to be carried away with money and material things at the expense of education and their marriages, respectively.
Most of these men left their wives at home to whom they will return after the project. We would not want to leave behind a record that our staff destroyed marriages and interrupted some girls’ education, Kalanje said.
He added: With HIV in our midst, careless sexual behaviour can lead to transmission of the virus halting all our efforts as a nation to arrest the spreading of the virus.
During the exercise the company’s officers took turns to sensitize the learners, teachers, parents and local leaders on health, social issues, environment and safety. In particular, the learners were advised to report to their teachers any construction worker making sexual advances to them for disciplinary action.
On safety, the learners and members of the community were advised to observe traffic rules and regulations before crossing the road to prevent accidents during and after construction of the road.
Communities were also warned against vandalizing road signs to avoid preventable accidents on the road.
The team was accompanied by Mangochi and Balaka District Education Managers, Joe Magombo and Davie Nselebo, respectively and Primary Education Advisors for the schools that were visited during the exercise.
Both Magombo and Nselebo hailed Mota-Engil for the initiative, saying it addressed practical issues that were common everywhere such projects were being carried out.
Mota-Engil donated two balls, one for football and another for netball to each of the six schools and two reflector vests per school for selected leading pupils to wear when controlling traffic to allow fellow learners cross the road.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA