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Girls Empowered Through Football and Reproductive Health Education in Nsanje, Malawi

NSANJE, Malawi (May 31 2024) - A local mother support group in Nsanje district has taken an innovative approach to empowering young girls, combining football with discussions on reproductive health and breaking harmful gender norms.

Inspired by a radio program on DRP-partner Gaka FM that aired on March 13th and focused on challenging gender stereotypes, Stella Davie, the chair of the Bangula Mother Support group, decided to organize a girls' football match followed by an educational session.

During the event, Davie stressed the importance of self-confidence, assertiveness, and the ability to make informed choices regarding sexual and reproductive health. She encouraged the girls to trust themselves, not be afraid to say no to unwanted advances, and to use contraceptives if they choose to engage in sexual activity.

The initiative resonated deeply with the participants, including 14-year-old Mervis Nyalugwe, who expressed her surprise and empowerment after playing football.

"I was shocked to have managed to play, and after the match, I was thrilled to learn from the mother group leader that as women, we can do anything. We should not limit ourselves," Nyalugwe said. "It empowered me to access contraceptives for the prevention of HIV and pregnancy."

Chawama Jere, a DRP-trained mentor at Gaka FM, commended Davie's efforts, highlighting the importance of such initiatives in challenging societal norms and promoting gender equality.

The Bangula Mother Support group's innovative approach has not only provided young girls with a platform to explore their potential but has also equipped them with vital knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

As Malawi continues to grapple with issues such as teenage pregnancies and gender-based discrimination, initiatives like this one serve as a beacon of hope, empowering young women to break free from harmful norms and embrace their full potential.


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