Financial Independence Key to Break SRHR Cycle-Oxfam
Oxfam Malawi says good and sound financial muscle among sexually active youths remain crucial to address issues of teen marriages and pregnancies in the country.
The organisation's program coordinator for the Her Future, Her Choice project, Rejoice Kankhande-Bonongwe notes that for youths who are financially stable, it is easy to make informed decisions when it comes to issues of sexuality.
“In rural settings where access to sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) is limited, adolescent youths with poor financial base are easily carried away from indulging in risky behaviors,” said Bonongwe.
However, Bonongwe told us that under the Global Affairs Canada funded Her Future, Her Choice project, they are encouraging young people to demand for sexual reproductive health services besides advocating for policy change.
She made the revelation during a media tour in Balaka where the organization is supporting the project in two traditional authorities (TAs) of Amidu and Kalembo.
For 17 year-old-girl, Fatima Aubrey a member of Namanolo Youth Club under TA Amidu says through the project, she has managed to exile in her education.
“My parents struggle to pay for my school fees. However, through the village savings and loans group within our club, I am able to borrow money for my fees and other school basic necessities,” said Aubrey.
Aubrey said the village bank has been supportive to her since she was in Standard 7 and now in form two at Chilanga Community Day Secondary.
Meanwhile, Group Village Headwoman Kuntiyani says she is using her position to influence behavior change among parents who were previously reluctant to let their children know about the sexual reproductive health rights.
“Previously, my area had a lot of issues relating to teen marriages and pregnancies owing to lack of knowledge of SRHR among both parents and youths which is not the case now,” she said.
GVH Kuntiyani however lauded the VSL concept and has contributed to the economic independence of youths in the area.
Oxfam Malawi is implementing the project in two districts of Lilongwe and Balaka in partnership with Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM), Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (CAVWOC) and Network for Youth Development (NfYD).