YONECO reach out to adolescent girls

Youth Neat and Counselling (YONECO) conducted training for adolescent girls in T/A Masache in Chinkhwawa and T/A Katuli in Mangochi districts aimed at increasing adolescent girl’s access to sexual Reproductive Health and Rights services.

Over 50 adolescent girls aged between 10-19 years old underwent the training, which was funded by UNFPA.

Media networking and advocacy officer for YONECO, Charles Banda, told Nyasa Times that according to their survey in the two districts, most of the adolescent girls were blank on issues concerning about Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights services.

The outreach also revealed that that illiteracy level among adolescent girls in the two districts is quite high because many girls in the districts dropped out of school or not even attend school at all.

“Our main target were adolescent girls, who most of them they do not know their rights as far as Sexual Reproductive is concerned. We equipped them on their sexual Reproductive Health and Rights services and to publicize the National Child Helpline services as alternative source of information and counselling on sexual Reproductive Health and Rights related issues,” said Banda.

During the outreach activities the following activities were also conducted; information sharing sessions that included the Toll Free Helpline, Discussions and answering questions on Sexual Reproductive health, performances in traditional dances by the adolescent girls and provision of services on family planning.

The Help line is a toll free numbers that children can call on all sorts of matters such sexual health, abuse relationships, HIV and AIDS, human rights and child abuse.

Banda said that Malawi has a cultural background which discourages parents to talk about issues of sex and sexuality with their children. He said as a result of this cultural background, most of
the adolescent girls seek counsel from their peers who unfortunately mislead them.

“But with help line, girls from the two districts are expected to learn a lot because now  they will be provided with accurate information on issues that affect them through online and face to face
counselling to walk in clients,” he said.

The toll free line is open from 6:00am to 10:00pm Monday to Sunday. After 10:00pm calls are rerouted to specific members of staff who ably respond and provide necessary counsel.

A number of stakeholders took part in the activities and they include; community development officers, role models (agricultural official), Police Officers from Victim support Units. Nice officials, Social welfare officers, nurses who family planning and youth friendly health service providers.

Some of the girls who were drilled on Sexual Reproductive Health. Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times
Smilling for YONECO and UNFP after attending the training.Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times
A Nurse equipping an adolescent girl on female condom.Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times
A nurse drilling girls on Sexual Reproductive Health.Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

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