YONECO takes GBV, HIV fight head-on

By Kondwani Kandiado

Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) says  is geared to help reduce cases of gender-based violence and  HIV among youth and adolescent.

The organisation is implementing a project dubbed “SASA”  prevention model in some peri-urban areas of Lilongwe.

The model is a community dialogue  system developed in Uganda where communities identify solutions that lead to GBV and HIV prevention and mitigation.

Mac-bain Mkandawire-Gbv and Hiv are issues among issues and adolescents

Speaking in an interview on Wednesday , during a training of trainers held in Mponela-Dowa YONECO’s Executive Director, Mac-bain Mkandawire said the model is a response to the rising cases of GBV and HIV among youth and adolescents.

“Gender based violence is a big issue. We are receiving a lot of reports. Last year we received about 4,000 cases through our GBV crisis line.

We are also experiencing a seemingly increase in HIV infection rate among youths and adolescent. We need to nip these in the bud,” he said.

He said 2016 Demographic Health Studies showed that there in an increase in teenage pregnancies signalling an increase in unprotected sex which increased the infection risk hence there was need to reverse the trend.

Mkandawire observed that GBV was fueling the spread of HIV among youths and adolescent.

“When there is GBV in a relationship, it makes it difficult to negotiate for safer sex which in the end increases the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS,” he said.

Lilongwe District Youth Friendly Health Services, Andrew Mphongolo said it was worrisome that GBV and HIV cases were still high in the district saying there was a lot that needed to be done.

He described the YONECO’s SASA  project as another gear in GBV and HIV fight.

Mphongolo expressed optimism that the organisation’s approach to fighting GBV and HIV will help address the issues when other interventions have proved less effective.

“We feel the SASA prevention  approach is sustainable as it gets to communities and if we teach communities, we are assured that the project will go beyond the phase out stage,” he said.

Through the project, the organisation is focusing on scaling up of innovative peer-led action in addressing GBV and HIV rates and low access to youth friendly health services among hard-to-reach peri-urban areas.

Pic: Mkandawire- we want to reduce cases of gender based among youths