Korea, UNFPA pump K5 billion into adolescents programme
The government of Korea, through Korea International Cooperation Agency, and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have pumped $6.6 million (approximately K5 billion) into a programme that seeks to promote sexual and reproductive health rights of teen mothers and adolescent girls.
The project, called Action for Teen Mothers and Adolescent Girls, runs from 2021 to 24, targeting 216,000 girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 24 in six traditional authorities (T/As) in Dedza and Mchinji districts.
UNFPA Country Representative Young Hong said child marriages, teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence continued to haunt the country, thereby perpetuating poverty levels.
“Almost one-third of babies delivered in the country are coming from teenage mothers; a teenage mother who doesn’t have money, skill, education and poverty is transmitted to their children. It is one of the biggest drivers of poverty,” she said
Hong said Malawi had to tame population growth to achieve its development goals.
Youth Minister Ulemu Msungama said, to break the poverty umbilical cord, necessary investments had to be made in initiatives that target adolescent girls and young women.
“We cannot be talking of Malawi 2063 if we still have problems of teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence (GBV). It will be hard to achieve that. There is so much potential if we invest in young people,” he said.
T/A Mduwa said the problem of household GBV was forcing some adolescents to indulge in sexual activities to empower themselves economically.
The project would address identified challenges through the implementation of Safe Spaces Mentorship Programme as well as Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Farmer Field School Programme to support young people with skills and livelihoods.
It would also increase access to youth-friendly health services, GBV mitigation services and menstrual hygiene products.
Malawi Girl Guides Association, Youth Net and Counselling and Family Planning Association of Malawi are project implementation partners.