The Young Women Christian Association of Malawi (YWCA) is currently working on a Project Titled Community Model for fostering health and well-being for adolescent mothers and their babies. This project aims at providing psychosocial support and parenting skills to adolescent mothers and early childhood education to the babies born to these babies. We are currently in our final stages of implementing and the following are some of the challenges that were reported by the mothers.
- There are high rates of intimate partner violence
- Misconceptions on issues to do with contraceptives
- Adolescent mothers are not allowed to participate in women groups or activities
- High rate of uneducated girls due to school dropouts as a result of early pregnancies
- Most adolescent mothers reported that their marriages were as a result of early pregnancies or forced marriages
Most of adolescent mothers reported that they have suffered intimate partner violence and most of the cases came about when women tried to access SRHR services, when they tried to get involved in women groups that help to empower them economically or those that talk about women’s rights. Due to this, the organization started engaging men during intervention meetings as a way of reducing intimate partner violence as well as engaging them in activities that support the growth and development of their children.
Agness Maulidi is one of the adolescent mothers who has benefited from the program. She reported to have experienced change in her home since her husband started attending intervention meetings.