668 youth graduate as gender rights advocates

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The British Council’s Our Shared Goal (OSG) project will today hold a sport and musical event dubbed Community Festival at Bingu National Stadium where a total of 668 young people will graduate as new advocates for gender rights, early child marriages and other gender related issues.

OSG is a project that seeks to address Gender Based Violence (GBV), Early Child Marriages (ECM) and other issues around gender equity and the rights of women and girls using healthy intergender relationship skills through sports where football training is combined with social, relationship and sexual health education.

British Council Malawi Head of Programmes Mr. McDonald Nyoni said the graduating 353 girls and 315 boys are drawn from Lilongwe peri-urban community of Mtandire.

He said: “The project uses young participants recruited from Mtandire who are engaged in weekly sessions of over 10 weeks period, which is followed by a Community Festival. So, this is an annual Community Festival to mark the end to the third cohort since inception and the second cohort for 2019. ”

Nyoni explained that the project seeks to have improved access to quality information around sexual reproductive health rights and the reporting of Gender Based Violence and Early Child Marriages, improved attitudes and behaviours towards gender equity, empowered and equipped young people who are better advocates for their rights and those of their peers -especially boys for girls’ rights.

He also added that the project is geared to increase the capacity of local NGOs and CBOs to work collaboratively towards the reduction of child marriages and related gender-based violence in Mtandire.

He further mentioned that OSG aims to engage 1,170 young people aged between 7 – 20 years of age, where 60 percent of which will be female living in Mtandire. “So far, we have directly impacted the lives of more than 950 children and indirectly engaged more than 5000 from last year’s Community Festival.” disclosed Nyoni

British Council is working in partnership with Tingathe, Zikomo Foundation/ Play Football Malawi and MHub as three local organisations already working in Mtandire.

According to Nyoni, Tingathe is a partner for life skills and GBV safeguarding trainings. On other hand, Zikomo Foundation/Play Football Malawi is offering football training and engagements while a tech partner MHub is helping on digital content sharing.

“We have also partnered with Edu-Sport Foundation from Zambia for capacity building of local coaches and Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation from South Africa,” added Nyoni

He also indicated that the Saturday’s festival which will start from 9:00am to 12:00noon among other things includes Impact Stories (testimonies from cohort members), demonstrations of their activities, performances by the children and guest artists Daughters Band, Suffix and KBG.

OSG is a three year project funded by Comic Relief to the tune of £150,000.

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