A high-powered delegation from Simavi, was on an official engagement with various local development partners. The delegation; comprising of Aika van der Kleij, who is the Senior Programme Manager – Sexual Reproductive Health and her counterpart Connie de Vrie have been meeting Senior government representatives from various ministries and some members of Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi.
Later during the visit, the team was joined by the Executive Director for Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO), Mac BainMkandawire and YONECO programmes team as well as other key district stakeholders during the field visits in Mangochi.
During the Mangochi field visit, the delegation visited two Traditional Authorities namely TA Nankumba and TA Makanjila. These are some of the areas where YONECO is implementing various projects that are being funded by Siamvi in Mangochi. Thus, the first field visit was made in the area of T/A Nankumba where YONECO is implementing Get Up Speak Out (GUSO) and Innovation Challenge Project. The following day, the team went to the area of T/A Makanjira where YONECO implementing Marriage No Child’s Play Project.
In his remarks, the District Social Welfare Officer, Willard Mphande commended Simavi for the positive impact it has made in the lives of people of Malawi through its local partners.
‘YONECO’s contribution to the development agenda of Malawi is widely recognized hence the organization enjoys massive support from various government departments in Mangochi district” said Mphande.
Simavi is one of YONECO’s longest and reliable partners from the Netherlands and the institution is currently funding three projects which YONECO is implementing in Mangochi namely; Get up Speak Out for Youth Rights (GUSO), Marriage No Child’s Play, and Innovation Challenge Project.
The delegates from Simavi witnessed various success stories achieved through the projects. Among other things, GUSO project has managed to empower young people who are now able to voice out their rights using various platforms like community theatre and radio. The project has further increased access and demand for SRH services among young people in the targeted areas. Under Marriage No Child’s Play, a number of child marriages have been annulled and a total of an overwhelming 205 girls have successfully been withdrawn from child marriages, the project also supported advocacy initiatives that led to the passing of Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act which raised official marriage age from 16 to 18 years. Under Innovations Challenge, which is a social accountability project, the youth have been empowered to access information through various Information Communication Technology (ICT).