By Agatha Namphimba
According to the 2015-16 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey (MDHS), an overall of 8.8 percent of Malawians aged from 15 to 49 are living with HIV and Mulanje is one of the districts with more people living with HIV in Malawi.
The estimated population of people living with HIV in the district has risen to 20.6% with a large number being the youth.
It is against this background that Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) has trained 281 male champions in Mulanje to reach out to fellow men and boys on addressing violence against young women and adolescent girls.
The orientation sessions were conducted from 12 to 17 August 2019 in areas of Traditional Authority Njima, Mabuka, Chikumbu, Nkanda, Juma and areas of Sub Traditional Authority Ndanga and Sunganinzeru.
The male champions were equipped with skills on issues of HIV, gender based violence (GBV) and how they can deal with issues affecting girls and women.
The men and boys were encouraged to raise awareness on HIV, early marriages, GBV, child abuse and all evils affecting women and girls.
Experienced male champion, Joshua Philip hailed YONECO for the training saying their group has managed to terminate child marriages and facilitating arrests of more than four men accused of defilement.
Philip promised to work hand in hand with newly trained male champions to end such malpractices in the district.
The orientation sessions were conducted under Comprehensive Action for Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) project which Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) is implementing in Mulanje in partnership with Malawi Girl Guides Association (MAGGA) with financial support from the Global Fund through Action Aid and Christian Aid.