Photo: Emmanuel Manyamba
Partnering with local grass root organisations, British Council is working to target attitudes and behaviour underpinning gender-based violence (GBV) amongst adolescent girls and boys from Mtandire, a community in peri-urban Lilongwe, Malawi. The project, funded by Comic Relief and the Scottish Government, will support young people to develop resilience and combat GBV using a healthy inter-gender relationship skills approach.
In 2014, a report called ‘Violence against children and young women in Malawi’ published by the Malawian government together with UNICEF found that 60% of all Malawians were violated during their childhood, that a third of females aged 13 to 17 reported feeling that violence was their own fault, and that less than 11% of abuse reports result in professional help. In her opening remarks, Dr. Mary Shawa, Secretary for Gender, Children, Disability & Social Welfare, described the report as ‘the first of its kind’ and ‘a baseline for addressing the prevalence of violence against children and young people’.
In response to both the report and public sentiment in 2017, a long awaited law was passed, making child marriage fully illegal in Malawi.
How British Council is Meeting The Challenge
It was against this backdrop that ‘Our Shared Goal’ was developed; a project which will use specially trained Educator Coaches to work with adolescent girls and boys, to reduce gender-based violence (GBV) and increase gender equality. Using Football, this programme will help the young people develop healthy inter-gender relationship skills.
To support a positive change in attitudes and behaviours, and increase understanding and advocacy between genders Our Shared Goal will:
- Develop a bank of specially trained local Malawian Coach/Educators, drawn from grassroots Malawi partners who are already familiar with the issues faced by the young people;
- Use a mixed-gender, paired teaching approach;
- Extend an existing youth-based app to provide information and sign-post appropriate support services to a new platform which will increase its reach exponentially.
Leading by Example - Side by Side
Our Shared Goal will bring together the complimentary expertise and perspectives of its partners: Play Football Malawi / Zikomo Foundation and Tingathe, community based organisations who are already delivering support services and skills development to young people, with a focus on girls' needs.
Tech For Good:
At the heart of the project is an app which has been developed by pioneer and community-based tech hub: mHub. Our Shared Goal will extend the reach of the app which in turn will increase content around Gender and Child-based Violence and Sexual Reproductive Health. The app will help to map formal support networks and entry points for young people. This will create an evolving platform in place to support young people to get the help they need beyond the life of the project.
A Chance to Shine…
The young people of the target community, Mtandire, face multiple challenges and, like all teenagers, can be subject to unfair stigma and negative perceptions in the wider community. Our Shared Goal will open up opportunities and safe spaces to build their confidence and a sense of belonging, alongside skills in sport, public speaking, mentoring and advocacy. To celebrate Our Shared Goal annually, we will host a festival of the young people and their valued place in the community and as future world citizens.