The programme targets particularly women and children, acknowledging that this particular group is the most vulnerable in society. The programme’s goal is to contribute towards the reduction of the spread of HIV infection, mitigating the impact of AIDS and human rights protection through gender equality, women empowerment and participation and to promote care for the infected and affected.
Promoting Women Education
Education is a key in social, economical and political empowerment of women. Achieving the MDGs and EFA goals are among some of the main aims of YONECO. Therefore, ensuring equality and accessibility of education for women is essential to meaningful participation of women in decision making positions and other social assets. The pandemic of HIV/AIDS cannot be effectively mitigated without access to information, thus it is vital that women (being the most illiterate) have access to education.
Behind any development, empowerment is crucial in that it ensures that individuals and communities can sustain themselves independently. Women and girls being the most vulnerable group in Malawian society are hence most deserving of this empowerment. At YONECO this is done by:
- Training in business management
- Trainings in livelihood
- Provisions of loans for economic independency
- Provisions of information (IEC materials) and trainings to sex workers on SRH and HIV/AIDS education through peer education and suggesting alternative Income Generating Activities (IGA’s)
Lobbying and advocacy in Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV & AIDS
Lobbying and advocacy in an effective strategy used by Women and Children Programme in driving home messages on SRH and gender to demand the duties and responsibilities of policy-makers and other public service providers
The sustainable development of children is crucial for the realization of the MDG’s and the eradication of poverty. By signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (UNCRC), the Government of Malawi committed itself to protect te children and to ensure their development and survival. In Malawi, Orphaned Vulnerable Children (OVCs) are victim to chronic poverty, lack of education, child abuse and are thus particularly in great need of protection. YONECO through the programme ensures:
- OVCs are provided with adequate basic necessities such as food supplements
- Children have access to education and the YONECO resource centres including the classed for child domestic workers.
- Children are given psychosocial support in for example child corners, play and art therapy
- They can develop life skills such as practise in electrical band equipment
- Health education
- General awareness using theatre for development in communities on the role of women in development especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS
Through the Tithandizane Helpline, YONECO reaches out to a broad range of young people who can call the line on 80001234 from fixed lines and TNM lines free of change. They can access information on sexual and reproductive health (SRH), human rights, HIV/AIDS and seek counselling. More than 200 callers per day frequent the helpline accessing it various services.
YONECO has established 7 resource centre in its operational districts (Zomba, Machinga, Balaka, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Nkhatabay and Rhumpi) to ensure that particularly young people have access to information and support in their general development. Among other activities resource centres allow youth to interact and develop on a daily basis in literacy classes, SRH sessions, vocational skills training, sports and other recreational activities. In Zomba, a children’s band was formed consisting also of street children and other OVCs. It granted them the opportunity to master different electrical band equipment and develop their musical skills. The band has released its first album and DVD, now it performs regularly for events and functions at a district level.