Malawi

As a subgrantee to EngenderHealth, we use a multisectoral, integrated approach to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable adolescents and their families at the individual, household, and community level.

Malawi

We are working to aggressively address school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) in Malawi. Over 50% of all 14 – 17-year-old children experience some form of SRGBV, and about one-third experience physical violence. Our programming works to improve the ability of both girls and boys to protect themselves from SRGBV through a targeted peer-led curriculum that equips them with knowledge of the manifestations of SRGBV and provides them with the life skills to respond to and report abuses. At the same time, we work with teachers and school personnel to build their awareness of school violence and assist them in creating a safer school environment. Caregivers are sensitized about SRGBV and the importance of girls’ education and encouraged to participate in economic strengthening activities to build household resilience to meet education expenses.

INNOVATIONS:

We are piloting school-led fairs called “Bonanzas”, bringing together health and social service providers, promoting positive SRH behavior change uptake and linking adolescents to services such as HIV testing and counseling, or GBV support; these services are made available directly on school grounds and complement our life skills, GBV, and SRH training that are provided in peer-led Protect Our Youth Clubs.

Health and HIV

While Malawi’s rates of new HIV infections have drastically reduced in recent years, young girls and other vulnerable populations continue to bear the burden of the epidemic. In schools, we work with students and teachers to lead discussions on gender-based violence, reproductive health, and prevention of HIV. Students are made aware of how sexual violence, STIs and HIV can be prevented and are encouraged to practice safe practices. Students are also presented with opportunities to develop their life skills and change the stigma around HIV. We also work with parents and caregivers to help them recognize risky behavior and effectively communicate with their children.

Livelihoods

Through our VSLA groups for caregivers, families are able to participate in savings and credit activities to strengthen household economic resiliency and social support networks. We believe that laying additional services on top of VSLA activities influences desired behavior change in communities. Our work with caregivers of OVC and other community members complements the VSLA methodology with a parenting curriculum to sensitize caregivers about the importance of girls’ education and to equip them with the skills and tools to identify and reject GBV.  Parents and caregivers are encouraged to use the funds saved in the VSLAs groups not only for household economic strengthening activities, but also to invest in girls’ education.

Education

We equip teachers and school administrators with the knowledge, skills, and tools to identify SRGBV and report and refer cases for services.  School personnel also receive training on gender sensitization, decreasing stigma around pregnancy in schools, pro-girls’ education approaches, positive discipline, classroom management, and response and referral mechanisms. Our Protect Our Youth Clubs are administered as an after-school activity where students are introduced to and practice life skills to identify and report GBV and understand how to keep themselves safe from risky sexual practices that might negatively affect their educational success.

Social Protection

We enhance direct linkages with our partner, EngenderHealth, whose program strengthens civil society and government coordination for GBV prevention and response and promotes linkages between multisectoral actors to improve legal responses to GBV. Victims of SRGBV are referred for response services supported by EngenderHealth, such as health clinics, legal aid units, or shelters so that victims may access the full continuum of services.  

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