NGOs train youths on sexual and reproductive health and rights


Over 100 Adolescent  Boys and Young Men (ABYM) drawn from various youth clubs in the areas of Traditional Authorities Kalembo and Amidu in Balaka District have been trained to be male champions with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and  rights.

The two day-long training was organized by Oxfam in partnership with the centre for alternatives for victimized women and girls (CAVWOC) and family planning association of Malawi (FPAM) under the Her Future Her Choice (HFHC) project.

The project which seeks to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and rights is being carried out in the districts of Lilongwe and Balaka and the primary targets are adolescent girls and Young Women (AGYW).

Doreen Thom is the project coordinator at Oxfam. According to her, although their primary targets are the AGYW, they also felt it necessary to engage the boys and young men since they also have a role to play in as far as the lives of girls are concerned.


“We want to see to it that men and boys are agents of Change in their communities so that they can be able to promote their own rights and also that of girls and Young women,” she said.

“The project has a number of issues that is trying to address. For instance, we are seeking to address issues of teen pregnancies and early marriages. As you are aware, it takes a man to impregnate a woman. It is for that matter that, while we are supporting the girls with various information on the prevention of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), we should also take into account that boys and young men must understand how they can prevent teen pregnancies as well as STI’s.” she added.

In his remarks, youth friendly health services coordinator for Balaka district, Daniel Mika, said the awareness meetings came at an opportune time and are a milestone in as far as creating a healthier society is concerned.

“Issues of teen pregnancies as well as early marriages are some of the derailing factors in the development of a society. I am optimistic that cases of teen pregnancies, early marriages as well as sexually transmitted infections rate among the youths here will continue to go down as the boys and girls are equipped with the right information on where to get services,” Mika said.


Another crucial element that the awareness meetings centred on was on ending Gender Based Violence(GBV).

As the assistant district social welfare officer for Balaka Hopeson Gadaga says, cases of GBV were rampant in the areas of Traditional Authorities Kalembo and Amidu before the coming in of Her Future Her Choice project.

“Before the project, almost 75% of people in these areas were ignorant on issues regarding Gender Based Violence. However, the situation has tremendously improved and about 50% of the people are now able to know about GBV as well as their rights,” he said.

Gadaga further said it is encouraging to note that parents are also able to understand about their responsibilities on their children unlike in the past whereby most of them were just neglecting their children.

Nelson Wahinya recounts the many challenges adolescent boys and young men as well as adolescent girls and young women around Kalembo and Amidu were facing before the project.

“For a long time, we have been victims of gender based violence, teenage pregnancies as well as early marriages.

“The project has opened up our eyes and we are now able to understand various issues regarding our rights but also on how we can be responsible citizens in our communities by refraining from life-threatening behaviours like engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse,” Wayinya said.

Her Future Her Choice project is being carried out with financial support from the Global Affairs Canada and is being implemented by a consortium of non-governmental organizations namely; Oxfam, Cavwoc, Family planning Association of Malawi(FPAM) and Network for Youth Development (NFYD) in partnership with the Government of Malawi.