• +265 1 526 199
  • director@yoneco.org.mw

Yearly Archive2017

YONECO Executive Director Calls on Staff to be Diligent and Selfless

The Executive Director for YONECO, Mac Bain Mkandawire, has urged Tithandizane Helpline Service officers to be diligent and selfless in discharging their duties as many people in the country have trust and confidence in them.

Mkandawire stated that the Tithandizane Helpline Service has become a household name in the country because of its insistence on results and professionalism in handling various cases.

Mkandawire made these remarks when he was officially closing an orientation session for new members of staff who have joined the institution as Tithandizane Helpline Field Officers.

In response to the growing demand for the services of YONECO’s Helpline facility, the institution has taken on board a total of 22 new Field Officers who will be working on various components of the Helpline Service Centre. The Tithandizane Helpline Service was established in 2006 before it was transformed by the Malawi government to become a national service.

Currently, the Tithandizane Helpline Service has a GBV Crisis Toll free Line, a Drug and Substance Abuse Hotline as well as the initial Child Helpline. All these are toll-free and operate 24 hours every day.

In its operations, the Helpline Facility which has its call centre in Zomba within YONECO’s Youth Leadership Development Complex acts as an alternative reporting mechanism for abuse and violence against women and children, a referral agent, source of information as well as providing other support services like Safe Places for victimized women and children in the country.

YONECO Distributes 15 Bicycles to YCBDAs in Mangochi.

YONECO distributed a total of 15 bicycles to Youth Community Based Distribution Agents (YCBDAs) in the areas of Traditional Authority Mponda and Nankumba in Mangochi district.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, District Youth Friendly Health Service (YFHS) Coordinator, Chisomo Petros, applauded YONECO for the support. Petros said this will greatly contribute towards ensuring that young people who live far from health service delivery points are able to access various Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services within their vicinities.

“Provision of services is very key in ensuring that young people are able to prevent various SRH challenges like unintended pregnancies as well as reducing the prevalence rate of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
This gesture will greatly contribute towards reducing various SRH challenges which young people, especially those who live in rural areas and hard to reach areas face” said the YFHS Coordinator.

One of the recipients from T/A Nankumba, Luis Gama, thanked YONECO for the bicycles. In his remarks, Gama said the bicycles will enable them to reach out to many young people in his area.

“Our concern was on how we can easily reach out to young people with the services because of mobility challenges that are there. On behalf of all young people from Nankumba, I would like to thank YONECO for the support and ask other NGOs to emulate this good example,” said Gama.

The bicycles were distributed after the 15 recipients were trained on provision of SRH services. The training was conducted with technical support from the Reproductive Health Unit (RHU) of the Ministry of Health. In his remarks, the National Coordinator for Reproductive Health Services in Malawi, Hans Katengeza, urged the YCBDAs to properly take care of bicycles and to make sure that they are reaching out to as many young people as possible.

HIV and STI prevalence rate among young people in Malawi is shockingly high. This is attributed to a number of factors and among the key challenges is lack of access to SRHR services due to long distances. Thus, YCBDAs come in to close the gap by providing some SRH Services to young people within their localities.

The bicycles were distributed with support from Simavi- Netherlands through Get Up Speak Out (GUSO) Programme which YONECO and its partners in the Malawi Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Alliance is implementing in Chikwawa and Mangochi districts. Other partners in the Alliance are; Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COWLHA), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE) and Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (CAVWOC).

From an Annual Girls Conference with Hopes and a Vision

Shakira Amedi (15) from Makanjira is one of the girls who participated in an Annual Girls Conference which the More than Brides (MTB) Alliance – Malawi organised on 19 December, 2017. In her remarks after the conference, Shakira said that the conference has opened up her mind and she now believes that girls can really achieve a lot in life.

“The decision I have made is to be more focused and set my goals and I will also be an ambassador of girls education and promote their rights”, said Shakira stating what she has resolved to do after the getting the knowledge from conference.

Shakira said the conference made her aware of the laws that are there to protect and promote girls in the country. Shakira further said that she has witnessed a number of girls who have failed to achieve their goals because of negative cultural practices and social norms that subject them to unproductive lives. She cited issues of child marriage as one of the key practices that has ruined the lives of many girls and some of whom are her friends.

“Growing up in Mpiripiri village where I come from, girls think that all they can do in life is to become a house wife and bear children while all the economic aspect of the family is sorely left in the hands of their husbands”, said Shakira.
She continued by saying that; “due to this set up, school becomes less important and eventually girls marry young with older men who sometimes pass on leaving the young mother and her children suffering”.

Among other activities, the conference provided an opportunity for girls to ask questions on what the government is doing to end child marriages and other Gender Based Violence (GBV) issues. Among the respondents was the Minister of Gender Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Honourable Dr. Jean Kalirani as well as health care workers, District Youth Officers and District Social Welfare Officers from the targeted districts.

Furthermore, there were career talks as well as modelling sessions whereby Madalo Banda, a 27 year-old female lawyer talked to girls on various career issues and goal setting. The conference was also spiced up by drama performances, poem recitals, and sharing life experiences on SRH issues and child marriages. During the conference, some girls who were withdrawn from child marriages also gave testimonies about the negative aspects of child marriages.

The girls who participated in the conference described it as something that has helped them to have confidence and determination. Discussions with some of the girls after the training substantiated that the girls revisited their future plans and resolved to let the sky be the limit to their goals. One key thing that also came out is the resolve by the girls to work with other young girls in their communities in order to stand up against various rights violations they face including child marriage.

The conference that was held under the theme Promoting Girls Access to SRH: An End to Child Marriage was attended by a total of 60 young girls within the age range of 10 – 19. The girls were drawn from the impact districts of the “Marriage No Child’s Play” Project namely; Mangochi, Nkhata Bay and Mchinji. The project is being funded by Simavi and the implementing partners in Malawi are YONECO, GENET and Save the Children Foundation is providing technical support.