What is Girls Rise?
Girls Rise is a Pamoza initiative that promotes girls education in Malawi. We educate community members on the importance of educating girls, empower girls to advocate for their education, engage the community on reducing early marriage, and support girls with scholarships and other support so they can succeed in school.
During her sophomore year at Villa Maria Academy, Mackenzie Duffy launched Girls Rise USA, a peer-to-peer strategy to further the education of teen girls in Malawi. Struck by the alarmingly high child marriage rates, disproportionate HIV/AIDS infection rates, and low female secondary school attendance rate, Mackenzie spent the majority of her sophomore year collaborating and brainstorming with staff of Pamoza International to initiate holistic change for young women within Malawi.
The product was a 2 part plan: an annual leadership conference and a scholarship fund. The conference was carefully tailored to appeal to gifted 7th grade students in Malawi. After an initial fundraising campaign, Mackenzie managed to raise $2,000 to fund the first girls leadership conference which took place in December 2022. It was attended by 57 girls!
The current focus for Girls Rise USA is to establish a scholarship fund to holistically address the needs of young women in Malawi, starting with the girls who attended the first leadership conference. The goal is to raise enough money for 25 girls to receive a four-year scholarship so they can complete high school, which is not free in Malawi.
With your support, Mackenzie, who is now a senior at Villa Maria Academy, is hoping to establish the scholarship fund before she goes off to college.