The World YWCA has secured three year funding with NORAD (the Norwegian Government’s international development assistance body) to work with eight countries to expand access to evidence-based comprehensive sexuality and reproductive health education and service referrals among young people, including safe spaces to discuss faith, culture and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The YWCA of Malawi is one of the recipient countries.
The project was being carried out in 3 villages (Mbewa, Nakhonyo, magombo) in Mulanje district which is found in the southern part of Malawi.
The project was titled; Building asset of girls aged between 15 -24 in three communities of Mulanje, Malawi.
Mulanje, statistically, only 5% of girls that complete primary school complete secondary school and the 95% of school dropout’s end up becommothers.20% HIV prevalence rate in girls aged 15-19. 26% of young women age 15–19 have already begun childbearing: 20% are mothers, and an additional 6% are pregnant with their first child. Over half of women in Malawi are married by age 18. 20% of girls have experienced violence. 71% are those who have been or are married. Overall women are most expected to experience sexual violence between ages 15-19.
These facts in the district of Mulanje compelled us to select this location to improve the SRHR situation.
The goal of the project is to improve sexual and reproductive health for young girls, establish safe spaces and establish young women leaders at community level .This will be achieved by improving access to information on SRHR, HIV and GBV via a series of activities such as outreach activities, distribution of culturally accepted IEC materials and creation of safe spaces where young women will be equipped with life skills and speaking skills and have access to information.
The project falls in line with the YWCA’s strategic plan of 2013 -2018 as the priorities are: Women and girls’ rights; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; Young Women’s leadership and Violence against women.
INDICATORS for 2015
- Face to Face dialogue with Religious leaders on SRHR indicators at community and country level
- Establish a partnership with FBOs and other CSO’s that promote young women’s SRH rights to address the knowledge gap.
- Conduct outreach activities targeting girls aged 15-19 Produce and distribute culturally appropriate IEC material with messages on SRHR, HIV/AIDS
- Train Peer educators
- Identify and create safe space introduce the idea of a safe space to participants, leaders and parents in the community
- Develop syllabus to teach girls in the 15-19 age group, apart from SRHR life skills and assets to improve their quality of life.
I. Capacity Building
A workshop was held for YWCA Malawi young women leaders at Palm valley lodge on 3st January 2015 whose objectives was:
- To report and reflect on the organisations activities in the year 2014 (what worked and what didn’t work )
- Build leadership skills amongst Young women leaders
- Develop action plan for 2015
Training on SRHR, advocacy, project management
1. Presentation – Introduction to the YWCA Movement: Mrs A Bwanausi
Presentation gave information as to when the YWCA movement began and why. When it
was founded in Malawi the work it has done since then, the main focus areas. Information
was also provided as to the membership profile in the country and existing braches.
2. Presentation – 2014 report – Dr Mtisunge Kachingwe The membership was given a report on the key activities that had taken place in the previous year.
3. Member presentations on attendance to workshops/conferences Dr Victoria Nnensa. She spoke to her experience attending the National Aids Commission (National youth council of Malawi) Workshop was held in Lilongwe Malawi, the objective of the workshop was to build capacity of youth organisation in SRHR. She expressed how she was able to learn much on efforts in the country to improve sexual and reproductive health for youth people she however expressed disappointment on poor organisation of the event and how the conference derailed from its objective, with no clear outcome plans. Dr Nnensa also attended the International Aids conference 2013 – Melbourne Australia. She learned the importance of advocacy and resilience. Dr Mtisunge Kachingwe. CSW – Selected as short term intern by the world YWCA office. She was exposed to global advocacy work. She also gave presentations on the consultative meetings that were organised by UNFPA and WHO.
Atupele Milanzi. Gave presentation on her experience on attending the AU Summit
4. Training Session
The objective of this session was to educate members on what sexual and reproductive health and rights is. Members were trained on what the issues are, and post 2015 development goals. Training on advocacy was done and the roles they can play in the implementation of the power to change project titled building the assets of girls.
5. Afternoon session – working groups
The participants were split into groups and were to strategize on activities for the year 2015.
- Young women empowered to take active role in the implementation of the project
- Strategic plan for the year 2015 developed (Find attached)
- DEVELOPING SYLLABUS FOR PEER EDUCATORS TRAINING. (Manual attached) A training manual was developed which had material to be used for trainers as well as the trained peer educators to use in their work. A hand book was also translated to the local language for the peer educators.
- ORIENTATION TO TRAINING MANUAL MEETING On Saturday 18th July 2015, youth members of National YWCA had an orientation meeting. They went through the training manual which was developed to use in the training of peer educators. The topics were divided among them to deliver in the training of peer educators. The topics were divided according to their comfort ability of the members in delivering the material and how each unit will
- be delivered as presentations, exercises and quizzes. There will be a future meeting to build on facilitation skills for the peer educators
IV. CONDUCT OUTREACH ACTIVITIES TARGETING GIRLS AGED 15-19 PRODUCE AND DISTRIBUTE CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE IEC MATERIAL WITH MESSAGES ON SRHR, HIV/AIDS –
The preparation meeting in Mulanje identifying SRHR champions (Peer educators)
Choosing peer educators/community champions – With our Mulanje coordinator, thirty youths, active in our project area were invited to a meeting where the project was once again defined, and what a champion or peer educator would be expected to do. They were asked to fill in a form designed to assess knowledge, expectations and behavioural characteristics of the candidates.
Successful candidates were chosen taking into consideration their area where they com from, level of understanding of SRHR and leadership experiences. 21 candidates were chosen as champions and the official training was tabled for the month of August.
ESTABLISH A PARTNERSHIP WITH FBOS AND OTHER CSO’S THAT PROMOTE YOUNG WOMEN’S SRH RIGHTS TO ADDRESS THE KNOWLEDGE GAP.
I. Participation under the SAFAIDS GBV and HIV prevention program
The YWCA of Malawi took part in a radio campaign series under SAFAIDS GBV and HIV prevention programme “towards Zero Domestic Violence and HIV among women” The YWCA discussed the topic
Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act-Demystifying the Act-what is in it for
girls (Are girls benefiting, How? Did they contribute to its making? What’s the
role of men and boys in promoting the act)
The panel included:
- Ministry of Gender
- Human rights CSO
- Young Women Christian Women Leaders
- Mafumu Matiki-Youth Arm Organization (Programme attached)
II. Child rights permanent committee – NGOGCN
The YWCA of Malawi is a member of the Child Rights permanent committee formed under the NGO gender coordination network (NGOGCN). On 2 April 2014 led by YWCA MW the committee organised an interface meeting with young girls in Chikwawa. The meeting aimed at sensitizing adolescent girls on their rights as well identifying the issues that they face. Other organisations that took part were; Eye of the child; People serving girls at risk; African network for the prevention and protection against child abuse and neglect.
III. Civil society education coalition (CSEC)
YWCA Malawi took part in a training on advocacy, gender mainstreaming, community mobilisation and research. The training took place from the 9 to the 10th July 2015. The CESC is a coalition of 81 local and international nongovernmental organisations and 27 district networks whose long commitment is to ensure that by 2015 all children particularly girls, children if difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities have access to complete and free primary education of good quality.
The training was aimed at enhancing the participation of local structures in demanding for rights in education.
VI. INTERNATIONAL FORUMS
1. AU Summit in Addis Ababa Participating Countries:
Angola, Benin, DRC, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe
For the first time since its founding in 1963; the African Union dedicated the theme of its 54th session to women’s empowerment and development, a vision towards 2063. Africa is rising with opportunities for economic and social development, peace, justice and equality. It is clear though that the pipe-dream of a prosperous Africa which is at peace with itself is not achievable without the empowerment of women and gender equality.
The World YWCA as a member of GIMAC (Gender is my Agenda Campaign) started with meetings from where recommendations were drawn up to advocate and present to the Ministers of Gender and in turn to the ministers of foreign affairs who in turn would recommend to the heads of state for ratification.
The issue of women, peace, security and justice was a natural stream of focus within the AU Summit. The African Union Protocol on Women’s Rights, 1994 and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality had a profound and specific commitments to women’s rights and empowerment in conflict and post conflict situations.
Strategic Meetings and Forums
1. Women and Young People from South Sudan formed part of the 30 person World YWCA delegation to the African Union Summit, and facilitated with accreditations and pre-consultations on key messages.
2. GIMAC Meeting 21-23 January. The South Sudanese women participated in the Gender is My Agenda (GIMAC) meeting which is a pan Africa platform for consultations and engagement. It develops the common advocacy positions for advocacy with African Union Head of States, government officials and partner.
3. Consultative Dialogue on women, peace and justice in South Sudan. The World YWCA convened a half day dialogue to engage with policy makers on the
situation of women in South Sudan. The dialogue sought to bring perspective and dialogue with officials from IGAD, African Union, UN Representatives, the Troika and other civil society organisations.
4. Bilateral and strategic meetings were scheduled during the week.
From these strategic forums and meetings, the young women of the YWCA came up with recommendations, here attached which were intensely advocated for the summit to adopt. Each country sought out their delegates to push for the adoption of the recommendations as well as the chairperson of the African Union Commission HE Nkosazana Dhlamini Zuma. She took time to meet with our delegation and discuss these issues for an hour. One of our delates, a young woman from S. Sudan who was had lost both parents to the war and was looking after five siblings, was assured of a scholarship to continue her education by Mrs Zuma.
Advocacy with the Malawian delegation.
The Malawian delegation was very receptive to our recommendations. Hon. Patricia Kalyati went so far as to insist we should make an appointment with her so that we map out projects country wide with AU funds to “end child marriage”.
The YWCA and the Norwegian embassy hosted a reception on South Sudan.
The reception was held at the Hilton hotel and was very well attended. Among the guest in attendance were the UN Women, the representative of the Girls not Brides, the Norwegian Ambassador, the South Sudanese Ambassador, the Gender is my Campaign (GIMAC), the representative from the YWCA and other notable guests.
The event started on an emotional note with Nyaradzai (YWCA General Secretary and AU ambassador for the campaign on ending child marriage) giving a brief history of the events surrounding the transitioning of South Sudan from Sudan. She reminded the gathering of the role played by the AU in assisting the South Sudanese people into liberation from the Sudanese nation. She talked about how the AU applauded on seeing the new South Sudan being set free to run their own affairs at last. However, this was not to be for long, for soon, the newly independent country was in turmoil.
The Norwegian Ambassador was at this point given chance to give his own testimony on his experiences in South Sudan. He told the gathering that South Sudan was in need, it was in need of everyone’s support. He said that he had been to many refugee camps in his working life both in the UN and in his new role as Ambassador, but what he saw in the South Sudanese camps was very unique. The situation was beyond the stories that were told by the women in their stories. The situation was
desperate. He promised the South Sudanese people that he would do everything within his means to garner support for them and everyone should do the same.
The UN Women representative was also on the podium to give her voice on the situation in South Sudan. She said that the story of South Sudan was a sad one. She noted that the women and children of South Sudan should never be left alone. She encouraged the meeting that the UN women would hold their hands together and support this great country as well as the continent of Africa to be peaceful once again.
The representative from GIMAC also gave her opinion on South Sudan and noted that GIMAC was equally giving their solidarity to the women of South Sudan.
The meeting ended with candle lighting in honour of the people who had lost their lives in the struggle for the liberation of South Sudan as well as the on-going conflicts. Mama Agnes gave a prayer in honour of the people of South Sudan and the event came to a conclusion.
Meeting with the Executive Director UN women
We had an opportunity to meet with the executive director of UN women where the Y youth discussed
- The AU youth programme
- CSW and financing
- Agenda 2063 and youth participation
- Volunteer and youth internship. It was promised that these issues would be looked into. The Way forward for African YWCA’s Nyaradzayi explained to the YWCA General Secretaries that the African YWCAs had to start to be independent in their advocacy work and start making their own way to these forums like AU, SADC, and CSW.
2. AU Summit in Johannesburg
The 26th African Union Summit was held from June 7 – 16 in Sandston South Africa. The theme for this year’s AU summit was ‘Year of Women’s empowerment, development towards Africa agenda 2063’
World YWCA had a delegation of 30 young women and their mentors. Countries represented included, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Mozambique, Namibia
During the gender is my agenda campaign (GIMAC) meeting more than 100 participants from across the continent, including high level representatives from the AU and United Nation Institutions, took part in the campaign meeting. The world YWCA delegation made a number of intervention in the meeting over the two days, providing information on peace and security in South Sudan and specific recommendations into GIMAC.
As a result of the GIMAC meeting young women and girls drafted an advocacy statement to deliver at the AU calling for concrete actions and fulfilment of commitments that have been made thus far; AU solemn declaration on gender equality; the Maputo protocol on Women’s rights in Africa; the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child; as well as the Africa youth policies.
2. Session on ending child marriage
During the GIMAC meeting, general secretary for the World YWCA and AU goodwill ambassador on the campaign to end child marriage Ms Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, together with Ms Francoise Mandouthe, Africa regional officer, girls not brides led a discussion on child marriage. Ms Gumbonzvanda invited young women Linda Khule aged 14 from Malawi and Loveness Maguru aged 21 from Zimbabwe to share their experiences as child brides and the adverse effects this had on their lives.
3. Interface luncheon with leaders
The World YWCA organised a luncheon for the Young women to interact with leaders. This session was aimed at inspiring and motivating young women to become leaders. Guest of honour was Professor Sheila from UNAIDS and Ms Geraldine Fraser – Moleketi, special envoy of gender, African development Bank.
4. AU Summit
10 delegates were accredited to the main AU summit and were able the ministers panel discussions. The young women made various interventions in the discussions highlighting their priority areas, education, SRHR and peace and security
5. YWCA side event
World YWCA together with their partners organised a civil society consultative dialogue on ending child marriage. The dialogue had 5 panel discussions covering topics/thematic areas; setting the pace: girls and young women’s voices on ending child marriage; Linking current AU and regional initiatives; partner initiatives – Building momentum on the continent; Monitoring and accountability for impact.
At the closing session, Linda Khule from Malawi spoke and made her recommendations on what needed to be done to end child marriage.
6. Visit to YWCA South Africa
The young women and their mentors visited two YWCA branches of South Africa and were able to witness the work that is done there. They visited a day care facility and a stimulation centre.
7. World YWCA media event
World YWCA held a high level press conference on eradicating child marriage in Africa. The president of Malawi was guest of honour at this event.
8. Meeting with World Vision
YWCA Malawi together with a Zambia and Mozambique had a side meeting with a representative from world vision Canada. Their organisation interested in funding projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The countries were asked to talk about the work they are doing in their countries. She said follow up would be via world YWCA.
9. Day of the African Child commemoration
The young women delegates took part in the AU commemoration of the day of the African girl child in Soweto. Taking part in the big walk, and then the panel discussions.
- AU formally adopted common position on ending child marriage in Africa
- Linda Khule offered a scholarship for School
This Year Malawi faced devastating floods from heavy rains where many lost lives, food and shelter. The YWCA Malawi youth group managed to raise funds and a number of assorted items which included clothing (women’s, men’s and children’s), shoes, food items and monetary funds to mention a few. The places assisted were Ndirande Township, Malosa in Zomba, and Mulanje.
Project ‘’Donation Ndirande” was carried out on the 25th of January, 2015 starting from 14:00 hrs where meeting point was Ndirande School for easy access to the families for distribution. Members were given a tour of all some of the families houses which had collapsed and the scenes were terrifying. There after the members returned to the school for distribution of items.
On 21 March 2015 members of the YWCA national youth organised a trip to Mulanje to provide relief item to persons affected by the floods. Recipients of donations were selected through the YWCA Mulanje branch manager. In total 20 families affected by
the floods were selected.
Project “Donation Malosa’’ was carried out on the 1st of February, 2015. Departure from Blantyre was at 09:00 and arrival at 11:45 due to some unforeseen delays that arose. Upon arrival we were greeted by the community members and given a tour to visit the collapsed houses. Thereafter the items were distributed, 15 care bags to the elderly as well as the 5 care bags for our Y members. Distribution of the clothing items were given to the members of the community who totalled close to 40 women including the elderly and the Y members.