Malawi

We use a multisectoral, integrated approach to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable children and their families at the individual, household, and community level.

Malawi

Children in Malawi experience unacceptably high rates of violence. National data indicate that 41% of girls ages 13-17 experience physical violence and 23% experience sexual violence.  Our programming improves the ability of both girls and boys to protect themselves from school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) through a targeted, peer-led curriculum that equips them with knowledge about SRGBV and life skills to respond to and report abuses. We work with teachers and school personnel to raise awareness of SRGBV and create safer school environments. We sensitize caregivers around SRGBV and the importance of girls’ education and engage them in economic strengthening activities to increase their ability to pay education expenses.

INNOVATIONS:

Bonanzas are one-stop shop events that provide on-the-spot linkages to medical, legal, and counselling support for survivors of violence; and bring together local gender-based violence (GBV) service providers who hold informational sessions and conduct individual consultations directly on school grounds. Bonanzas are a catalyst for actively forging working relationships between school authorities and service providers, building a foundation for reporting violence in schools.

Interface Meetings with duty bearers are platforms where students constructively engage with service providers, traditional and faith leaders, and local government to hold them accountable for service delivery and addressing reported cases of GBV.  Accountability is critical in increasing reporting rates and help-seeking behavior among GBV survivors.

Health and HIV

Keeping girls in school offers protective benefits and limits exposure to gender-based violence (GBV), early marriage, and sexual abuse that predispose girls to HIV. We developed and piloted an Early Warning System to identify adolescents most at risk of dropping out and link them to appropriate supports to retain them in school. Our Protect Our Youth Clubs encourage attitudinal and behavioral changes to reduce exposure to gender-based violence and HIV.  Through community-wide “Bonanzas,” we bring health and social services directly to school grounds to improve access to post-exposure services, medical counseling, and support platforms. Bonanzas also act as an entry point for individual referrals into the national welfare and health systems.

Economic Strengthening

We promote village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) for caregivers to address the economic drivers of gender-based violence while building financial literacy and small business skills, as well as strengthening social support systems. The VSLAs act as platforms to layer positive parenting training sessions using the Go Families! curriculum, which includes content on the importance of girls’ education and HIV and violence prevention.

Education

We understand that education is one of the most powerful enablers to equip vulnerable children with the tools to build a healthy and stable life. However, in Malawi as across Africa, many thousands of school aged children are out of school. Keeping vulnerable children in school extends well beyond the classroom: Bantwana works closely with communities and governments to address the drivers that push vulnerable children out of school.

In Malawi, we equip students, teachers and other school personnel with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to identify and prevent school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) and report and refer cases for services.  School personnel receive training around decreasing stigma related to pregnancy, approaches to promote girls’ education, positive discipline and classroom management.

World Education Inc. /Bantwana developed and piloted an Early Warning System to identify adolescents most at risk of dropping out and link them to appropriate support to retain them in school. The Early Warning System is a simple, teacher-administered questionnaire that uses three categories of criteria for identifying students at high risk of dropout. Poor class attendance, behavioral problems, and poor academic performance are the three main variables assessed under the Early Warning System. Trained Mothers’ Groups use response protocols to link at risk students to key preventative services that include household economic strengthening and financial literacy activities, psychosocial support, and health and legal aid services.

Social Protection

We work to increase social protection for vulnerable children across a suite of platforms. We foster dialogue in families to reject harmful gender norms, change attitudes and practices around girls’ education, and to adopt parenting techniques that promote mutual respect and understanding. We enhance community efforts to respond to gender-based violence by equipping Mothers’ Groups with knowledge, skills, and tools in case management to ensure vulnerable girls receive services.

Adolescent Girls and Youth

Due to harmful gender norms, adolescent girls are among the most vulnerable populations across Africa. In Malawi, we empower adolescent girls and young women with information, skills, and support networks so they can better navigate the variety of risks and challenges they face in their daily lives.  Protect Our Youth Clubs provide an inclusive and participatory platform for girls and boys to examine unequal power dynamics and challenge gender norms that discriminate against girls and perpetuate gender-based violence.  Protect Our Youth Club leaders, called peer educators, mobilize fellow students to organize community awareness campaigns on gender-based violence prevention and to create safe spaces within their schools and communities.  The “My Dreams My Choice Plus” curriculum, used by Protect Our Youth Clubs, helps adolescent girls and young women strengthen protective assets and life skills; promotes healthy habits; and reduces behaviors that may put them at risk of gender-based violence and HIV.

Malawi - 12000 students

in safer schools that are preventing and reporting gender-based violence

Malawi - 3000 adolescents

empowered to combat violence and gender discrimination

Malawi - 500 school officials

equipped to prevent and report gender-based violence