In July 2016 we began supporting the Nancholi Youth Organisation (NAYO), aiming to improve access to Youth Friendly Health Services for the young people of Nancholi, Malawi. NAYO is an organization that has been working to combat HIV/AIDS and empower youth in their community since 2004. We will work with them to train youth leaders in sexual and reproductive health, increase access to condoms and other contraceptives, conduct leadership and life skills training for youth leaders, and expand access to HIV testing and treatment.
This project is essential for community development. Currently there are only 3 HIV clinics in the region. They are all far away from Nancholi and are difficult for most young people to access. Additionally, youth face great stigma in seeking out HIV testing at these sites and thus many avoid being tested. NAYO plans to establish regular youth activities at their new Youth Friendly Health Center including after school sports, youth groups, and evening activities, in order to draw in more young people. The goal is to make it less stigmatizing to access condoms, other contraceptives, and HIV counseling and testing. In addition to increasing services for youth, they have planned multiple educational and outreach meetings with traditional leaders and parents’ organizations and will develop a cohort of supportive adults through a club matron/patron group. Though they are working in partnership with the Malawian Department of Education and Ministry of Health, both of these governmental organizations are underfunded and have not been able to adequately provide similar services to the community of Nancholi. For this reason NAYO sought out partnership with Minga.
Partnership Update, December 2019:
As our most established partner organization, NAYO requires a different type of support. While we also fund direct projects with NAYO, much of our work involves close dialogue, mentoring, problem-solving, and organizational development work with NAYO staff. Some of our key contributions this year included:
- a gender equity campaign that included significant gender analysis and equity work within the organization, as well as community workshops, films, discussions, and girl-centered activities;
- summer capacity building supported by Brennan Kaiser, from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, including trainings in data management and analysis, gender analysis, and proposal writing;
- two new project proposals that NAYO will pursue with Minga and other funders: one to establish a youth radio program focused on health and gender equity; a second to establish a menstrual pad factory and training program.