We’ve launched our fifth anniversary celebrations with an event at the Malawi High Commission in London on 5th September. This event was the first of a series of events that will be held around the world and right here in Malawi.
MASA: Youth focused on college and secondary school students, including any youth living with HIV. We also focused on reaching other adolescents and youth, as they are particularly vulnerable and in need of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education, HIV prevention programmes, and HIV testing, treatment, and care services.
With 50% of new HIV infections affecting those aged 15 to 17 in Malawi, young people are particularly at risk, due to early sexual activity and marriage. Knowing about the successful efforts of the Make Art / Stop AIDS (MASA) programme in bringing HIV education to hard-to-reach populations, we set out to reach secondary school students through the MASA: Youth project in collaboration with Dignitas International.
Geoffrey Kamwendo, a 20-year-old Chancellor College student, may be pursuing his degree in Computer Sciences, but his personal passions lie in the arts. He sings; he acts; he performs poetry. That's part of why he joined the Make Art / Stop AIDS (MASA) Squad: to achieve social change using his artistic skills.
Over the last year and half, the Umunthu programme has been working with healthcare workers to address the discrimination of minority groups that then impacts their ability to access health care. The team recently worked with St Joseph College of Nursing in Chiradzulu, and made a positive impact on attitudes there.
The topic of discrimination against minority groups can be a heated topic here in Malawi, and addressing that discrimination can be a long process. As part of our ongoing Umunthu: Health Worker project, our staff is returning to the communities to follow-up on the lasting effects of the three-day workshops, and this is what one healthcare worker had to say.
A huge investment into the health sector by the government, private sector and the development partners will translate into nothing if a particular section of the society is left out .Indeed, discrimination against some individuals in health services provision is a sure recipe for disaster and counterproductive in the efforts to create a health society .
Knowledge of Sexual and reproductive health (SRH), including HIV/AIDS, is fundamentally important to a healthy life, especially among the youth. Consequently, the modern world expects teachers to shed more light on SRH and HIV/AIDS, and other relevant topics in their classrooms. Due to cultural sensitivities, teachers are not freed up to tackle such topics openly and decisively. Worse still, even the general teaching approach spelt in the secondary school curriculum, in this case, leaves a lot to be desired. This all works to the disadvantage of the youth who receive little accurate information about sexuality. This can leave them susceptible to coercion, abuse, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
In a country where young people under the age of 30 form 70% of the population, it would have been expected that innovation and creativity would have been the norm and not the deviation. However, the situation is very antithetical for Malawi .The youth are facing a litany of challenges ranging from unemployment, higher incidences of HIV/AIDS, drug and substance abuse and early marriages among other pressing social issue. Such pressing social issues prevent the youth from realizing their potential to the fullest.Indeed ,the level of contribution of young people to the socio-economic development of the country leaves a lot to be desired
Art and Global Health Center Africa (ArtGlo) held its annual graduation ceremony for 38 students who successfully completed the Students with Dreams (SWD) programme. The prestigious ceremony which took place on 14th April, 2018 was graced by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Justin Saidi.