By Aubrey Thom Vakhani,
AS one way of preventing the spread of the deadly Covid-19, the Government of Malawi in March this year ordered the closure of all learning institutions in the ranging from kindergarten to tertiary.
The closure of the learning institutions made learners to be idle in the communities. This resulted into early marriages and teenage pregnancies in some country’s districts.
The issues have not pleased some quarters including rights groups.
As a way of combating the rise of child marriages and teenage pregnancies, Nkhata Bay based Youth Empowerment Towards Development (Yetod) has launched a program dubbed Youth ya Smart munyengo ya Covid.
According Yetod Executive Director, Yotamu Ngwira said the program which has come as a result of alarming rise of teenage pregnancies and marriages, will be run in two phases.
Ngwira said the closure of school due to Covid-19 has affected young people in the country outing their lives at risk.
“Young people have lost focus because of this holiday. The rise in cases of teenage pregnancies and marriages should tell us that parents somehow have failed their responsibility. This is why this program is done in two phases; meeting youths in their youth clubs and parents in their community.
“As of now, we have started with youths in their clubs trying to help them on how they can live during this time to reduce the rising cases of teenage pregnancies and marriages. The second phase of meeting parents will start soon,” Ngwira said.
So far, Thowolo Youth Club has been reached as Yetod is expected to meet Likalazi and Msomba youth clubs this weekend.
Chairperson for Thowole Youth Club, Moniccah Nkhoma applauded Yetod for the program citing that it will go a long way in as far as addressing child marriages and teenage pregnancies is concerned.
“We will use the knowledge imparted here to reach out to both parents and youths in our catchment area. It’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the youths from any act which is deemed to ruin their future. Our ‘thank you’ to Yetod will be by spreading the message to the community,” Nkhoma said.
Yetod is implementing the Youth ya Smart program with Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco), Nkhata Bay office.