Faith leaders, who gathered at the Act Alliance dissemination conference on sexual reproductive and health rights in Lilongwe last week, affirmed their commitment to encourage abstinence for youths and promote access to family planning methods.
In a communiqué released after the three-day conference whose theme was Breaking the Silence, Faith Communities Taking Action on Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights Among Youths, the faith leaders urged youths to abstain from pre-marital sex and abuse of drugs and substances to avoid pregnancies, fistula and HIV and Aids.
“We commit to using our voice to provide guidance to our youths. We have an obligation to invest in our youth for their bright future,” reads the communiqué in part.
The faith leaders included members of Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Quadria Muslim Association (QMAM), Catholic Health Commission (CHC), Blantyre Synod Health and Development Commission and Livingstonia Synod Health and Development Commission.
They also called on government to increase youth-friendly outreach clinics and train health personnel.
One of the organisers of the conference DanChurchAid said they were satisfied with the outcome of the project.
DanChurchAid’s Beatrice Gumboh said the N’zatonse Project has achieved its goal of improving the knowledge and acceptance of modern family planning methods and access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) using the Rights-Based Approach (RBA) and Gender Sensitive Approaches among the faith community.
“The programme has helped to mitigate the challenges youths are facing by facilitating discussions on sexual and reproductive health and rights in churches and mosques that has often been a taboo, hence ‘breaking the silence’,” said Gumboh. n