A day in my life as a GPE youth leader in Malawi

Eliza Chikoti, GPE youth leader from Malawi, takes us along on her daily work to advocates for girls’ education in her country through the NGO CAMFED.

April 16, 2024 by Eliza Chikoti, GPE Secretariat
5 minutes read
Me attending the GPE youth leader’s meeting, jotting down key points.
Me attending the GPE youth leader’s meeting, jotting down key points.
Credit: Eliza Chikoti

The "GPE ‘Behind-The-Scenes' youth leader spotlight" is a new monthly series on GPE’s Education for All blog that gives insights into the advocacy process and work our youth leaders do. Posts will describe ‘a day in the life’ of GPE youth leaders, forming a virtual diary that gets passed to a new leader each month and offers a unique perspective on their experiences. This month, we’re starting with Eliza Chikoti, GPE youth leader from Malawi.

Monday, March 25, 2024

On a sunny Monday, I wake up early for some house chores and prepare for work. Being a CAMFED employee, a member of the CAMFED Alumni network (CAMA), a GPE youth leader and a leader of youths at my church, I have a lot of things to do today.

My to-do list.
My to-do list.

Having a to-do list with time allocation is the best option for me to avoid missing out on some things.

After arriving at the CAMFED office, I start with my usual first activity for Monday mornings, writing a weekly report, followed by an online meeting for CAMFED alumni members who are in employment.

Today, our discussion focuses on preparations for our second quarter philanthropic activities scheduled for June this year.

Some of the activities coming up include advocacy for education in the communities we work in, role-modelling sessions and providing financial support to vulnerable children. We also discuss fundraising strategies and set dates and venues for our activities.

Screen capture of online CAMFED Alumni members meeting.
Screen capture of online CAMFED Alumni members meeting.

After the meeting with fellow sisters in the CAMFED Alumni network, I prepare for an audit in one of the rural districts of Malawi where I’m based: Machinga district. My work with CAMFED centers on promoting girls' education through the provision of bursaries and social support to vulnerable rural girls, and empowering young women to be economically independent.

One girl I’ve supported and feel proud of is Ruth. I first met her at her former secondary school in 2021 when I went to distribute entitlements. After the exercise, I noticed she had something to tell me. I created space for her to be able to do so, and she shared some academic challenges she was facing due to her home problems (her father being ill and general poverty at home).

Luckily enough, she was at a boarding school where CAMFED provided almost all of her school needs, but psychologically she was still being impacted by her home problems despite being far from home. I encouraged her and connected her to a teacher mentor at her school to monitor her and provide further encouragement so that she would progress despite these personal challenges.

Every time I visited Ruth’s school, I checked in on her progress, using my own examples and experiences to help her cope. Her teacher mentor also did her best, and Ruth began to perform well. She did well on her MSCE (Malawi School Certificate of Education) exams—the final national examinations at the secondary school level in Malawi — and I supported her to apply for tertiary education and a transition program.

Ruth was given a transition business grant she then used to support her family — a great relief for her. Although she continued to struggle with low self-esteem, I kept on encouraging her.

During this time, I also used to monitor Ruth’s business and connected her with some business mentors to support her throughout her entire enterprise journey.

Ultimately, she was selected to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in Animation at the United States International University – Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya, where she’s currently studying. I feel proud I had the opportunity to support her and that she saw me as a role model.

Screen capture of monthly online GPE youth leaders joint meeting. Credit: Eliza Chikoti
Screen capture of monthly online GPE youth leaders joint meeting.
Eliza Chikoti

In the afternoon, I attend the monthly GPE youth leaders meeting. The monthly meetings bring together GPE youth leaders from across the world and GPE officials where we receive informative trainings on topics ranging from advocacy with government leaders to social media activism, and share our experiences and updates on the work we do in our respective countries and organizations.

Nowadays virtual meetings are much easier for me compared to the past. I especially got used to this format after the COVID-19 pandemic when I regularly connected with lots of people online, so now that exposure and the skills I gained help me to easily participate in these kinds of virtual meetings.

Today, we are trained on advocacy best practices to ensure our work is successful. After the training, youth leaders share their perspectives, applying what we’ve learned to our respective country contexts. This whole training was very insightful and eye-opening, like all of the trainings are.

What’s especially helpful is the organization of the meeting itself which incorporates different facilitation strategies including group work, a Q&A session and breakout rooms that keep the session interactive despite it being virtual. We end with breakout sessions to get to know each other better and connect with the new cohort of GPE youth leaders from across the world. It’s great sharing experiences and information with them.

Monitoring visit at the Machinga Secondary School. The girls write and share their goals. Credit: Eliza Chikoti
Monitoring visit at the Machinga Secondary School. The girls write and share their goals.
Eliza Chikoti

I then go on a monitoring visit to one of CAMFED’s partner schools, Machinga Secondary School, which is about a 4km drive from my office. At this school, our interventions are usually after school hours according to the school policy, so I went at 3:45PM after the GPE youth leaders call.

It’s easy to arrange this visit because it’s our partner school where we do a number of interventions. All I have to do is communicate with the school headteacher and teacher mentor who joins us in our interventions.

The visit helps me interact with the beneficiaries of the CAMFED program and to understand how they progress throughout their education. I encourage them to work hard in school, set goals and work toward achieving their goals each day.

I end the long day by attending a youth prayer session at my church. Planning and time management (my to-do list!) are the two key factors that help me achieve all the planned activities today. Overall, I believe my day has been meaningful and impactful to myself and other youth.

Related blogs


This is great I love it.This is the way to go indeed

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • Global and entity tokens are replaced with their values. Browse available tokens.
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.