GracaMachel Trust Youth Mentorship programme is mentoring young leaders into being successful advocates as well as acquiring career and personal building skills in Malawi.

A Malawian postgraduate student of Environmental Health Sciences at the Polytechnic, Christina Chirimba said this in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Friday.

Chirimba said: “I am one of the youth advocates being mentored by GracaMachel Trust (GMT) under GracaMachel herself. This initiative is championed by Her Excellency, First Lady, Professor Gertrude Mutharika in the country.

“I qualified for this initiative as I have experience in Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) and Nutrition,” said Chirimba.

“I initially started working under GMT in June and I’m to be mentored for a year. Since then, I have been using the skills I gained to inspire the youth in my country.

“I am currently working with a Malawian based non-governmental organisation, Maikhanda Trust and so far we are working on the improvement of youth friendly health services,” Chirimba said.

Maikhanda is the lead implementing partner for GMT in reproductive, maternal, new born, adolescent health and nutrition in Malawi.

She said most adolescent girls in Malawi want to avoid early pregnancies but lack the necessary knowledge or access to health care.

Teenage pregnancies in Malawi have been increasing from 26% in 2010 to 29% in 2016 and the number is expected to get higher this year.

Chirimba said, “There is an urgent need for the government to provide adolescent girls with greater access to sexual reproductive health rights information and more youth attractive friendly health services.

“I am happy to say that Her Excellency, First Lady, Professor Gertrude Mutharika is playing a role in this cause to encourage and empower us youth leaders so we can make positive changes in our country,” she said.

May 23-25 2017, GMT programme welcomed 22 participants to RMNCAH and Nutrition Advocacy Toolkit Training Workshop, including representatives of the lead implementing partner organisations, namely Health Promotions Tanzania, Maikhanda Trust and Foundation for Community Development.

Participants also included seven selected youth champions, youth mentors together with selected technical advisors from Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique representatives.

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