NAYO’s youth programme has many components for educating and empowering youths with various skills and knowledge such as sexual and reproductive health education, 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, drama, football, netball, provision of condoms and HIV/AIDS related information and other activities related to youths.
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 youths 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 encourages and teaches individuals about group participation and highlights the importance of sport in bringing people together. It is also an opportunity to encourage the youths to 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, such as 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’s Youth-Friendly Centre is 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 is also 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.
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 expanding youth programmes to empower the youth to contribute positively to Malawian society.