Youthful cheers, ululations filled the air and music echoed through Masintha ground in Lilongwe as Family Health Services (FHS), formerly Population Services International Malawi (PSI) has clocked two decades of its operations in the country.
The organization, which runs behavioral change radio program, Youth Alert Mix and had gained fanbase and listenership in early 2000’s on radio airwaves through provision of guiding light, illuminating path of reproductive health and sexuality for the youth.
In his remarks Executive Director, for FHS, Jephta Mtema, described the two decades journey, as a fruit of consistency within organizational structures.
Mtema, further highlighted that the organization, is now focusing on expanding its youths outreach programs on information dissemination beyond radio waves to digital platforms.
“We’re taking the digital road to reach even more youth who are inclined towards technology,” he said.
Yamikani Mbewe, a spirited young voice from Area 36, hailed the existence of the program as a bridge to essential sexual and reproductive health services among the youths.
“Youth Alert has been our beacon of knowledge and support throughout the years. If not for this program, life would have been difficult for us young people,” she said.
Mbewe, while appreciating FHS efforts, underlined the pressing need for economic interventions to free youths from financial shackles, emphasizing that addressing economic challenges is as crucial as focusing on reproductive health.
Deputy Director of Reproductive Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Henry Phiri also hailed Youth Alert program for equipping the youth with vital SRH information.
“The program has been instrumental in reaching and educating countless youths. FHS has truly complemented government’s efforts, and we commend them for that,” he said.
Adding her voice, Lilongwe District Council youth Officer, Wezzie Kamanga, who graced the commemorations as a guest of honor said the program’s impact in steering young people away from promiscuous behaviors, emphasizing that Youth Alert has been a guardian, shielding tool among the youth.
Kamanga had since urged the youth to embrace innovation, saying, “Innovation is our key to success, carving our path in a challenging job market. Therefore, young people must be skilled and innovative and be able to even employ themselves. The job market cannot absorb all of us, so we need to venture into other economic avenues,” Kamanga said.
Since its inception in 2003, the Youth Alert program has achieved phenomenal success, with the program reaching out to over 6 million youths across the country.