St Mother Theresa Academy and Likangala Secondary schools on Friday emerged winners in the inaugural YONECO Under-17 football and netball tournament whose final matches took place at Police Training College Officers’ ground in Zomba.
The tournament was organized by Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO) in conjunction with the International Service, through a project called Integrating Sports, Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Information and Services for Young People in Malawi.
In football, a brace from Wisdom Salima was enough to see St Mother Theresa beat Likangala Secondary School 2-1 to clinch the football trophy.
Adrian Sawerengera scored the consolation goal for Likangala.
In netball, Likangala outclassed St Mother Theresa by 25 baskets to 15.
Speaking during the prize presentation ceremony, Mr. Raphael Mulaphe, who was the guest of honour and represented the District Education Manager (DEM) responsible for Zomba Urban, hailed the initiative for raising awareness on HIV and SRH among the youth.
“We are appreciative because raising awareness messages to the youth at this stage through sports is very crucial in reducing the contraction of HIV through sexual behavior. As you might be aware, sexual activity is very high among the youth and it is imperative to equip them with knowledge on how they can refrain from contracting the virus,” he said.
In his remarks, Samson James from the International Service advised the youth to abstain from unsafe sex.
He said the youth are held in high esteem and are vital in the economic development of the country.
“Play it safe by using a condom if you cannot hold your sexual desires. We regard you as people who can assist in spreading the message of abstinence to your colleagues,” James said.
YONECO’s community mobilisation coordinator Jacob Nyirongo explained that Zomba registers high levels of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among the youth.
He however added that these are indicators of high level of sexual activities among the young people and cross the generation.
“The issues of sexually transmitted infection and teenage is compounded by lack of skills to deal with the challenges among the youth, inadequate recreational services and poor communication between parents and young people. Through these gatherings we have been able to observe how the youth understand issues to do with HIV and sexual transmitted infections,” Nyirongo said.