Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Machinga CBGs on a flight of hope

By Justine Kumadzulo

It is not easy in some places for people to openly discuss matters of sexuality in public due to cultural taboos which define sex issues as sacred and shameful such that those who brave the situation and talk about them, the society would brand them as being associated with prostitution.   Nevertheless, Community Based Groups (CBGs) in Machinga are on the right path to break the silence and recently, ADRA Malawi through the Action for Social Program mobilized 40 CBG representatives from Traditional Authority Kawinga in the district into HIV and AID training to promote behavior change.
The four –day training, among other objectives aimed at promoting open discussion on matters of sexuality and HIV/AIDS. The expected change of the training, facilitated by Save the Children and Ntaja Clinic was that the trained members would initiate dialogue at household and community levels and provoke them to discuss matters of sex and HIV and AIDS.
Cases of HIV and AIDS are reportedly high in the district, affecting individuals and communities through severe opportunistic infections and death of bread winners. The situation has increased the number of destitute children who are exposed to child labor, abuse and prostitution.
A role play depicting the danger of girls falling in love with elderly men
In her opening remarks HIV and AIDS Program Technical Officer Judith Kumwenda said that ADRA Malawi organized the training to ensure that the CBGs got knowledge on HIV and AIDS prevention and equip their communities with the right information.
The Program District Coordinator for Machinga, Justin Kumadzulo urged participants to take the training seriously considering that they would be expected to relay the information to other people.

fleet of hope with card characters. Participants were given pictures and asked to place them in the boat of their choice according to the character or profession of  a person. The idea is that at the end of it, each one should be in the safe boat.
 The participants were drawn from youth groups, faith groups, home based care and support groups. On the final day of the training,  one of the participants, John khanene said the skills acquired during the training would go a long way changing the face of their communities especially on matters of stigma and discrimination.

The Action for Social Change Program with support from Denmark is collaborating with community based groups and district partners to bring about change in the targeted communities in Machinga, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Mulanje.

Friday, March 9, 2012

CYR applauds Zatonse Radio Program

By Elias Banda

Center for Youth Rehabilitation, (CYR) a Blantyre based organization has received positive response from Blantyre City Assembly to identify 115 sex workers who would be supported to undergo vocational trainings.CYR Executive Director, Marco Chipwaira said the response came after he was featured on the ADRA sponsored Zatonse Radio Program on the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC). During the program,  he appealed for support from local partners.
  CYR was formed in 2009 with the aim of rehabilitating, promoting and protecting the Malawian youths through psycho-socio, economic and spiritual programs in Blantyre, Zomba and Mulanje.
On Januray 19, 2012, CYR was featured on a live program to respond to issues raised by the general public over increased cases of prostitution in the country, involving young girls manly aged between 11 and 25. Some of the girls have since dropped from school.
The program received overwhelming responses from callers who sought more information and location of the office so that they could visit and present their grievances. Mr Chipwaira said that after the program he received numerous calls from Blantyre, Karonga, Mulanje and Lilongwe where concerned people sought advice to set up committees that would address the growing cases prostitution.  Two families from Bangula and Nancholi in Blantyre complained that their daughters were doing prostitution while at school and they sought redress from CYR.
 He said that sex workers committees have already been established in Mwanza and Muloza Boarder areas.
He also said that the identified sex workers would go for life skill training for two weeks before being allocated to various vocational schools. The sex workers would be identified in Zomba, Blantyre and Mulanje with the age range of 11 -35. He said however that some would be recommended from Mwanza by the committee that has already been established. The anticipation is high that the transformed girls and young women would turn into good citizens and positively contribute to the national development.
“we are very thankful to the management of ADRA Malawi for incorporating us on the Zatonse Radio Program and we expect good partnership with you” Chipwaira said.
The Action for Social Program with support from Denmark is collaborating with different partners to solve the socio-economic challenges facing the country.