YONECO trained its partners in Malawi Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and More than Brides (MTB) Alliances on how
they can effectively integrate the use of various Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools in SRHR Programming.
In his opening address, the Executive Director for YONECO, Mac Bain Mkandawire stated that ICT represents a pathway to positive SRHR outcomes in Malawi. Mkandawire further stated that strategic use of various ICT tools can positively contribute towards closing the information gap which is one of the contributing factors to SRHR challenges in Malawi.
Mkandawire further stated that YONECO has been looking forward to an opportunity to share its knowledge and experience to its various partners. However, Mkandawire pointed out that for an institution to realize positive results, the institutions need to be prepared to sacrifice time and be dedicated as there is a lot that goes into ICT for development.
The Executive Director for YONECO also stated that the training will be meaningless if the knowledge and skills are not put into proper use. He also stated that YONECO will always be available to provide the necessary support whenever there is a need.
During the training, participants were drilled in various components including the following; message development processes for various social media tools, challenges and opportunities in the use of Ehealth and Mhealth, data management and analysis, monitoring and evaluation of social media campaigns.
For over a decade and a half, YONECO has been using various ICT tools in order to effectively reach out to people in Malawi especially the youth. Currently, the institution has a fully-fledged ICT centre that provides support and linkage to other sections within the institution. YONECO also uses ICT in its toll free helpline services which comprise of the child helpline, Gender Based Violence Crisis Line, as well as Drug and Substance Hotline. Further to this, YONECO’s national youth-focused radio station heavily uses various ICT tools and its programming is further informed by the information that is generated by various ICT channels.
The training was also graced by the presence of a Senior Programme Officer from from Simavi, Loan Liem. Loan shared her experience on how various institutions in the world are implementing Mhealth interventions. She also looked at various disadvantages and advantages of various tools.
Participants from the Malawi SRHR Alliance include representatives from Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (CAVWOC), Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education, as well as Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COWLHA). In addition to this, Gender Empowerment Network in Malawi represented the More than Brides (MTB) Alliance.
The training was funded by the Dutch government through Simavi under the Get Up Speak Out (GUSO) Programme which the Malawi SRHR is implementing in Chikwawa and Mangochi.