NAYO’s youth programme has many components for educating and empowering youth with various skills and knowledge such as sexual and reproductive health, youth talent development, life planning skills and counseling, among others.
Young people under 25 years are targeted for this programme. More than 145 youth are benefiting from this programme through the provision of activities such as music, football and netball, provision of condoms and HIV/AIDS related information and other activities related to youth.
Objectives of the programme
1. To promote full and equal societal participation among the youths.
2. To build life skills for youths
3. To educate the youth in the areas of HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, human rights, food security, gender and environmental protection
4. To educate and assist young people who are in danger of becoming, or are already addicted to illegal drugs, alcohol or other addictive substances
Every August, NAYO holds football tournaments with youths from all 16 villages in the Nancholi area. This is to encourage the youths to come together and participate in discussions about development issues in their community. By allowing the young people to discuss these issues, they can develop solutions and create positive changes in their lives.
Every year, a music competition is held by NAYO. Young people can come and compete to identify their talents and to win money to record their own song. This helps the young people to not only be creative but to disseminate information, through music, about issues they face, for example HIV/AIDS, gender issues and socio-economic problems. In addition, at the competition, HIV testing is offered. In the future, NAYO hopes to fundraise to establish a music studio, to continue to foster creativity among the youths of Nancholi.
NAYO is in the process of creating a Youth-Friendly Centre. It will be a place where young people can come and receive ICT training, have access to books, internet, workshops concerning issues such as life-skills, sexual reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and gender issues, and a space where they can discuss problems in their community. There will also be a room where young people can come and get tested for HIV and access ARVs. This is crucial since many youths do not want to go to hospital for these services because of the stigma attached. Youths already come to the NAYO offices to access condoms and testing for HIV during special events however the capacity here is small, so a purpose-built Youth-Friendly Centre is a key community need.
Future / Way forward
The community needs for youth programmes will continue to grow in the coming years and NAYO is always looking for support or partnership opportunities to provide expanded youth programs to empower youth to contribute positively to Malawian society. In 2014 and 2015, NAYO plans to complete the Youth-Friendly Centre and Music Studio, so any support with these projects would be greatly appreciated.