Addressing healthy settings in Malawi
In a quest to attain a sustainable and community led healthy setting, SCHI scheduled a series of youth trainings in the project area after Village Action Groups cited gaps in youth education and awareness of life skills and health issues. The SCHI team in collaboration with district partners delivered a package to youth which addressed Club leadership, Life skills and Peer Education-HIV and Human rights, with focus on preparing the representative youth as mentors and peer educators. The training package dwelt on enabling the group to both attract and objectively disseminate life skills lessons, and educate others on HIV and human rights.
Chikwawa faces a high number of teenage pregnancies (49%), continued prevalence of harmful cultural practices, and high rates of HIV/STI infection. However, youth remain unequipped with information on how to protect themselves and are vulnerable to peer pressure and misinformation leading to potentially health threatening behaviours.
The package was designed with interactive tools to enable participants to develop effective skills for planning, communication, and negotiation. This will support them in asking for help, saying firmly what they want and need, and interacting with institutions, families partners and friends.
35 youths were systematically selected with 17 females and 18 males across 5 youth committees. The training was delivered by Mfera health centre staff, district education staff, YONECO, and district youth partners. Previously trained members were prioritised but new youths who had previously not been trained in previous packages were also included.
To address sustainability post Healthy Setting project, participants developed a strategy on how they will engage fellow youth, and existing and new district partners on various action plans for long term benefit. This was also an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with Mfera Health centre health workers so that all youth clubs continuously benefit and have technical support from the hospital Youth friendly staff members.