Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children, (CAVWOC) over the weekend engaged peer educators in Balaka, in Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, as well as drug and substance abuse, in a two days conference that took place in Liwonde.

Speaking at the end of the two days conference, Sunday, Project Officer for CAVWOC under her Future Her Choice Project, Khumbolane Nyirenda, said they thought of bringing the peer educators together to empower them to lead their fellow youth.

She said the youth needs to have all rounded knowledge in SRH rights as it is the mandate of their project.

She said: “The project is working in Traditional Authority Amidu and Kalembo, and we need the youths to be equipped in so many issues, be in mental health, menstrual hygiene, adolescent and child pregnancies, gender based violence, just to mention a few.

“We noticed that many youth that we work with lack knowledge in the topics that I have mentioned, and you will agree with me that the youth are the agents of change, and as of now the youth lack the leading role, so empowering them is important.”

According to Nyirenda, 30 peer leaders have been drilled and are expected to raise awareness when they go back to their respective communities.

“Since the start of the project in 2019, we noticed that the youth are openly discussing issues of sexual reproductive health, and uptake of these has been increased unlike in the past when many youths were shunning them for fear of being labeled as reckless,” she added.

On his part, District Youth Officer for Balaka Godfrey Mpinganjira said many youth in Balaka used to fail to make a decision to use SRH.
“This conference will empower the youth to always make their informed decision to use SRH, and as ambassadors of change, they will also help in advocating the same to their fellow youth,” he said.

Youth Friendly services for Balaka District Hospital Daniel Mikah said with support from different partners in the district, a lot of young people are coming forward to seek for SRH services.

“Each and every facility in Balaka is now providing these services thanks to our various partners who are working with us, and this has helped as a lot of young people are accessing the services near them,” he said.

This according to Mikah, has helped to reduce the number of teen pregnancies in Balaka.

One of the participants, Julita Ntchetche, from TA Amidu described the conference as an eye opener.

“We have been drilled in leadership skills, we have been drilled in leadership skills as we are peer educators, and we have also been drilled in social reproductive health which is the major problem the youth are facing.

“We have been drilled in drug and substance abuse, many youth indulge themselves in these which in turn jeopardize their future,” she said.
Her Future, Her Choice is a multinational project in Malawi, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Zambia which is funded by Global Affairs of Canada.


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