By Wilfred Golden
In an effort to increase awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) among adolescent girls and young women, Point of Progress, a local non-governmental organization through “Her Future Her Choice” project held a quiz and debate session in Lilongwe.
Speaking at the event, Innocent Lwesha, Head of Programs and Advocacy at the organization said the event was organized as one way of integrating SRHR awareness initiatives and education activities through “Her Future Her Choice” as this is one way of making sure that learners are being able to critically think and communicate on what they are learning in class and issues to do with SRHR.
“Our aim for this activity is threefold: encouraging critical thinking, nurturing confidence, and disseminating accurate information regarding SRHR, specifically addressing concerns related to HIV and AIDS, STIs, and teen pregnancy.
“The ultimate goal is to equip pupils with comprehensive knowledge, enabling them to make informed decisions in safeguarding their SRHR,” he explained.
He further said that the project has been receptive in both schools and communities as learners are being well informed on SRHR issues and that they are being able to guard themselves on negative activities.
Said Lwesha:“These efforts have yielded remarkable results, evidenced by a notable reduction in reported cases of pregnancies among school-going students in the impact areas, a significant achievement reflecting the program’s positive impact on empowering informed decision-making.
“Overall, an encouraging trend has emerged with an increased uptake of contraceptives among these empowered adolescents. This signifies a proactive step towards responsible sexual health practices, demonstrating the program’s success in promoting informed decision-making and access to essential resources Point of Progress intends to expand these integrative activities to engage a larger student audience, amplifying their influence in the near future.”
One of the partners in the project, Oxfam Malawi said the project is under gender justice program at Oxfam Malawi,and that it is strengthening SRHR among adolescent girls and young women aged 10-24.
Rejoice Kankhande, programs coordinator for the project at Oxfam Malawi said:”We want to make sure that these young people are able to know where they can go and seek support and they should also know where they can go and access SRHR, so basically we are creating demand for these young people to make right choices over their sexuality.”
She also highlighted that the project is bringing positive impacts in areas which they are working as number of pregnancies are being reduced, a thing which is giving them strength to extend the project.
One of the participants a form four student from Msechi secondary school, Esther Mwauseya commended the gesture by Point of Progress through “Her Future Her Choice” as they are shaping their skills and knowledge both in education and health rights.
So far,the project is being implemented in Lilongwe, Traditional Authority(T/A) Chimutu and Malili as well as in Balaka Traditional Authority(T/A) Amidu and Kalemba partnering with Family Planning Association, Cavoc, Point of Progress as well as Oxfam Malawi.