“The global theme of this year’s International Youth Day was ‘Youth Building Peace’ and for the Malawi context this was extended to include ‘the role of youth in population, health, environment, skills development and entrepreneurship’.
“This theme fitted really well with the objectives of a USAID-funded programme called ‘PaMawa’ (or ‘Youth as agents of change’) that is currently being led by GOAL in Malawi, in partnership with Populations Services International (PSI) and the University of Malawi.
“The ‘PaMawa’ project works with young people to help them understand population dynamics in Malawi and the need for family planning, and also to appreciate the impact and effects of climate change and how they can develop resilience to these prevailing conditions. The links between sexual reproductive health issues and climate change are key.
“I was asked to give a short speech at the event on behalf of all Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations working in Malawi. USAID Mission Director, Mr Littleton Tazewell, also spoke, while several senior Malawian government officials attended the ceremony. With performances by local musicians, traditional dancers and poetry reading by some of the young people, the public turned up in big numbers.
“There is much hope that the events of the day will help to raise awareness of the importance of the role that young people can play in the aforementioned issues as well as the wider political, social and economic future of Malawi and the region.
“In addition, it gave GOAL and its partners the opportunity to showcase the great work that continues to be carried out by our teams on the ground in the districts of Balaka, Machinga and Mangochi.”
- Colin Blyth, Country Director, GOAL Malawi.