Recognising the challenges teen mothers face to pick up their pieces and offer better life to their children, two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have joined forces to provide psychosocial and financial support and care to the young mothers and their babies.
The NGOs, Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (Repssi) and Young Women Christian Association of Malawi (YWCA) are implementing a project, Malawi Early Childhood Initiative for Children of Adolescent Mothers in Machinga and Blantyre districts.
Speaking in Blantyre on the sidelines of a review meeting for the project, Repssi country representative George Alfandika said they are working with 360 teen mothers in the two districts helping them to integrate in society and go back to school.
The project aims at enhancing early learning and development for children born from adolescent mothers, promoting positive parenting, providing psychosocial support to adolescent mothers as well as financial support.
Said Alfandika: “We conducted a baseline study and we found that poverty pushes girls into engaging in early sex activities. We identified young mother champions who are engaging their fellow teen mothers, encouraging them to go back to school and enroll their children to early childhood centres for proper growth and development.”
YWCA acting president Alice Bwanausi called on the communities to support the young mothers to deal with the challenges they face so that they become useful citizens.
“We are training them in business management, we are also in the process of giving them a startup capital for businesses. For those willing to go back to school, we are offering them scholarships,” she said.
In his remarks, Machinga district social welfare officer Lawrence Matiti hailed the project, saying the district has a lot of teen mothers, therefore requires such interventions.
Matiti cited harmful cultural practices, poverty, ignorance and lack of recreation centres as some of the reasons pushing girls into early sex activities.
The three year project which ends in 2023 is being funded by Comic relief to the tune of £300 000 (about K335 million).