CONDOMIZE Play it safe

CONDOMIZE Play it safe

The  CONDOMIZE  Campaign  kicked off  in Malawi  dubbed “CONDOMIZEMALAWI”  campaign CONDOMIZE CHANCOwith  a bang  in  2013 with the aim of de-stigmatizing  the  big  C aka  Passport the  “CONDOM”  both  female and  male  condoms among  #youth spearheaded by  UNFPA  Malawi, Ministry of  Youth and Sports with support  from the  condom project  and  CONDOMIZE campaign  team.

To promote  its  proper  and  consistent  use  to  prevent pregnancy,  HIV and AIDS  and STI  infections.



The  campaign  has  engaged  diverse  stakeholders  so  far  such as journalists, youth  leaders, youth workers, health workers, government  officials  and  key partners in adolescent health. This  campaign  is  the  first  program  to  systematically target college  students  in Malawi; most  programs  on youth  sexual reproductive health have  sidelined  college  students  under  the  assumption  that they are  knowledgeable  and  know  how  to adhere  to healthy sexual  behaviors.

Styling it up with CONDOMIZE

Styling it up with CONDOMIZE


The  truth  is  that young people  in  our  colleges  are having  SEX but  they lack  information  to make  healthy sexual behaviors decisions.

An informative   male condom  DEMO by a female student

An informative male condom DEMO by a female student

 In Chancellor  College  this  campaign was  able  to  facilitate a platform for  college  students  to start  having  the sex and safe  sex conversation

This  dude  broke  DOWN how  to use  female  condom . he was on point

This dude broke DOWN how to use female condom . he was on point

 through the   comprehensive  information  offered  at the education zone  during  the open days  event  and  training  of  students campus youth peer educators  on  #condoms to  facilitate  dialogue  beyond  the  open day events, the  pin making  table offered fun and how  to style  up  with CONDOMIZEMalawi  campaign.

CONDOM pamphlet in case you miss a step

CONDOM pamphlet in case you miss a step

Diktator doing his  thing

Diktator doing his thing

Urban music  artists headlined  the  concert  that had  college  students  showing  off their  dance styles

Piksy singing  some CONDOMIZE  tunes

Piksy singing some CONDOMIZE tunes

with fun  facts, how to  use  female  and  male  condoms  segments, condom  quizzes on  their locally  coined  #CONDOMIZE slogans, myths and  misconceptions  among  other  side  activities.

CONDOMIZECHANCO was a mix  of  fun, entertainment  and  education

CONDOMIZE  DON'T  COMPROMISE @  the  educational  zone

CONDOMIZE DON’T COMPROMISE @ the educational zone




Originally posted on Youth Family Planning Ambassadors:

The concept youth-friendly serviceshave been being used for several years now by SRH programs but it is not always easy to capture what it is in practice. Too often, organizations embark on providing youth-friendly services as an additional activity to simply include on list of their program and don’t carefully explore their readiness to listen to young people’s complex and diverse voices in the matter. Program reports focus on the number of services provided and young people served, paying less attention to how friendly those young people were served. From my experience, interactions with my fellow young people, service providers and SRH experts, and review of existing literature on SRH I am happy to give the following advice for our services to be qualified as youth friendly. 

  • Empowering young people and giving them options for choices: Our services should not exclusively address needs of young people but…

View original 515 more words

Youth and Family Planning by Mutale Kaimba YFPA Zambia

Originally posted on Youth Family Planning Ambassadors:

Young people usually face new and peculiar challenges, which require appropriate support for them to survive and grow into healthy and responsible adults.  These challenges are largely related to vulnerability to risks associated with behavior change, which could have life-long implications on health, social and economic life of their life.  In this respect, it is generally recognized that appropriate planning and management of young people’s health has significant potential to contribute to overall socio-economic development at both country and global levels.


There are three major arguments why it is important to focus on the health of young people and to ensure that young people are fully involved in addressing issues that affect them

1)    Young people are therefore amajor demographic force

For many of the countries in Africa and other less developed countries young people

Constitute the larger percentage of the population. Those who are below 25 years…

View original 686 more words

Condomise Malawi: Hope for youths in the face of HIV by Edyth Kambalame

It is hard enough to get a Malawian university student to tell you whether they use condoms or not, even worse to gauge whether they use them correctly and consistently. But in a country where poverty is believed to be the leading cause of HIV infections and early pregnancies, the issue of condom use is probably the last thing on people’s minds.

But recent research commissioned by UNFPA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports indicates it is not only poverty that is responsible for high HIV infections and fertility rates. Rather, it is the low condom use among Malawi youth. The research was conducted in 2011, but earlier in 2010, a UNAids Report mentioned low condom use as one of the factors that contributes to high HIV infections.

“Major factors in the transmission of HIV in Malawi are poverty, low literacy levels, high rates of casual and transactional unprotected sex, particularly among youth between the ages of 15 and 24 and low levels of male and female condom use,” reads the report in part.

Similarly, the 2010 Malawi Demographic Health Survey (DHS) says: “For young men, HIV prevalence is slightly higher for those who report not using a condom at their last sexual intercourse compared with young men who report using a condom,” reads DHS in part.

Based on these statistics and research findings, the Ministry of Youth and Sports will next month launch a Condomise Malawi Campaign to increase condom use among the youth and reduce unplanned pregnancies and HIV infections.

Deus Lupenga, principal youth officer in the Ministry of Youth, said the campaign will run with funding from UNFPA.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports, in collaboration with UNFPA commissioned a study in 2011 to assess factors that contribute to low condom use among young people. The Condomise Campaign is aimed at increasing condom use among the youth and ultimately reducing unplanned pregnancies and HIV infection,” said Deus Lupenga during a media briefing on the campaign in Blantyre last week.

But why focus on the youth?

Malawi has a youthful population. According to the National Statistical Office, 73.8 percent of the country’s population is below the age of 30.

That is not all—the country holds the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of teenage births in the Sub-Saharan Region. Known as adolescent fertility, Malawi’s teen birth rate is 193 per 1000 girls, compared to countries such as Zimbabwe and South Africa which are at 101 per 1000 and 54 per 1000 girls, respectively. The teenage birth rate measures the number of live births to 15-19 year olds.

With such sobering figures, surely, Malawi’s high rates cannot be ignored.


Overcoming cultural barriers

The Condomise Campaign is advocating for increased condom use because the condom offers dual protection against sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia, as well as unwanted pregnancies.

Early pregnancy rates are high partly due to cultural and religious values that encourage abstinence and promote condom-free #sex education among youths.

While describing condom use as “one of the most effective strategies for combating the spread of HIV”, the 2010 DHS admits the cultural challenges that stand in the way.

“Educating youth about condoms is sometimes controversial, with some people believing it promotes early sexual initiation,” reads the document.

And in justifying why the Condomise Campaign is focusing on tertiary institutions, principal HIV and Aids officer in the Department of Nutrition, HIV and Aids Khataza Chawanda said: “Policy does not allow for condom distribution in primary and secondary schools, only universities.”

Ironically, one of the reasons girls are dropping out of primary and secondary schools in Malawi is early pregnancies.

Thus, poverty and poor sex education combine to lead to risky sexual behaviour among the youth in Malawi. This is why, although the 2010 DHS says 79 percent of young women and 89 percent of young men know where they can obtain a condom, the youth are not always free to access and use them consistently and correctly.

According to Wilfred Lichapa, chief youth officer in the Ministry of Youth, the Condomise Malawi Campaign is targeting university students because they are easy to reach.

“Universities have been sidelined for a long time in as far as these programmes are concerned, yet university students are future decision makers and so they also need to be protected. Most districts have youth clubs and other avenues through which youths can access condoms, but university students do not usually have these facilities,” said Lichapa.

Chawanda said locally-branded condoms called Silver Touch, which are more appealing to the youth, will be distributed during the campaign.

“The condoms will be distributed to select university campuses and also in hot spots of six impact districts such as Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mangochi, Mzuzu and Karonga that the campaign is targeting,” she said.

Women and girls at risk

Although the country’s average HIV prevalence rate is at 10.6 percent, 12.9 percent of women are living with HIV compared to 8.1 percent of men, according to 2010 DHS. This means women and girls are more vulnerable to the Aids-causing virus than their male counterparts, yet this gender is the most disadvantaged when it comes to condom use.

Malawi introduced the female condom in 1997, with UNFPA scaling up promotions by making it available in hairdressing salons, but acceptance has been slow.

The 2010 DHS indicates that less than one percent of women use the female condom. Yet the one critical advantage of the female condom is that it is the only available technology for HIV prevention that women can initiate and control.

Random interviews conducted in the streets of Blantyre revealed that very few women have ever used a female condom, with many not knowing where to find them.

Acknowledging the gap in access to contraceptives, including condoms, among youths, Vice-President Khumbo Kachali said at the 2012 London Family Planning Summit that government would raise Malawi’s Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) to 60 percent by 2020 “with a focused increase on those aged 15 to 24 years.”

With increased condom use among the youth, government would be on track to meeting its goal of reducing unplanned pregnancies and STIs.

As the Condomise Malawi Campaign runs from September 16-30, government’s goal should be to ensure that the condoms are available to the youth even after the campaign is over, and more importantly, that they reach their target.

Youth Community Based Distribution Agents: the grease to Youth friendly Health Services

Accessible  community Youth  Friendly  Health  Services is  critical to providing and  fulfilling  the rights  of    adolescents  and  young people  in accessing health  services  that  are  acceptable , affordable, appropriate  to  their  needs  and  that  offers  information to make  informed  decisions regarding their health.

In  areas  where Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS)  Program  is making  tremendous  impact  there  is  clear  linkages  between  the  health  facilities,  YFHS  providers, community  leaders,  youth  –  as  peer  educators,  youth  community based distribution agents,  youth organizations & clubs. In Traditional Authority Katuli, Mangochi which is part of the UN  Joint Program on Adolescent Girls. The program takes a holistic approach in addressing the challenges facing adolescent girls (10-19 years) by proposing and implementing integrated investments in formal education, vocational training, reproductive and related general health care and protection from violence, abuse and exploitation for young people particularly adolescent girls.

Investments in adolescent girls’ health are paying off  in Katuli. Katuli  Health Center has  integrated  YFHS  in their  various  services  delivery  points  and departments  in the  facility.  The center has a room/space designated for young people center where  health services in addition to SRH  are  offered.  Peer  education sessions  are also held every  2 to 3  days  the data  collected feeds  into  the center’s planning processes. The  center has a policy that ensures the youth do not queue when they come for services, thus giving them easy access.  in addition  Youth community  based distribution agents  are  available and attached to  the  center and are supervised  by the  Health  Surveillance  Agent (HSA). The inter-linkages that  exist  between  different  organizations  such  as  Banja La Mtsogolo, UNFPA, Ministry of Health, adolescent  girls, schools, communities, the health  facility, youth clubs/organizations, YFHS providers, parents, clinicians  and  HSA  is  impressive  and  proving its effectiveness in  ensuring increased SRH/FP  information  among  adolescent girls  and  beyond.

In Katuli Youth Community  Based Distribution Agents (YCBDAs) have  been instrumental  in raising  the  demand, access  and use  of  contraceptives  and SRH  information among  adolescent  girls, boys  and  the community  at  large. Not only has the demand and uptake of condoms, pills risen but also long acting reversible contraceptives such as Implants, intrauterine Device (IUDs) through their referrals to the health center and outreach clinics. Adolescents girls in Katuli area  are now more knowledgeable about their  SRH  rights. The  area  is  also seeing  a  decrease in the  number  of  adolescent pregnancies and  school  dropouts. The YCBDAs’ coverage  is  big  which  furthers illustrates  the dedication and great  spirit of  these  young people as  they  work as  volunteers, despite having difficulties in transport due to the coverage area. However  they each manage to  see  and counsel between  15 – 20 clients  each week.

When asked what motivates them – they said:

I  want my community  to reduce school  dropouts  due to   adolescent  pregnancy and  to enable  youth to  become  productive  citizen  with sustainable  income”

A  male  YCBDAs said “as a  young man it is our role  to not  just impregnate young  women but rather  to  be part  of  the solution  and increase awareness on SRH information and services to adolescent girls”

YCBDAs in katuli are one of the means of encouraging positive factors (factors that reduce the impact of negative behavior or promote healthy alternatives) that influence sexual and reproductive behavior early in life and are strengthening the social economic development of their fellow young people.

These YCBDAs are energetic, passionate, knowledgeable, action oriented youth volunteers that humble you at how much they are able to achieve. They are happy to do what they can to support their fellow youth. We need to support these exceptional young people in their work; by further building their skills.

I  salute  these and all other young  people who give their time and skills to  promote the health and especially SRH service delivery and uptake of services  among youth. Image

some of the YCBDAs in Traditional Authority Katuli


There are over 600 million girls in the world today, more than 500 million of them in developing countries. They are shaping humanity’s present and future. The opportunities and choices girls have during adolescence will enable them to begin adulthood as empowered, active citizens.


With the right skills and opportunities, they can invest in themselves, in their families and their communities.  However, pregnancy jeopardizes the rights, health, education and potential of far too many adolescent girls, robbing them of a better future.


About 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth each year, and complications from pregnancy and child birth are the leading cause of death among girls in this age group, especially in developing countries.


Adolescent pregnancy is not just a health issue, it is a development issue.  It is deeply rooted in poverty, gender inequality, violence, child and forced marriage, power imbalances between adolescent girls and their male partners, lack of education, and the failure of systems and institutions to protect their rights. To bring these issues to global attention, this year’s World Population Day is focusing on adolescent pregnancy.

Breaking the cycle of adolescent pregnancy requires commitment from nations, communities and individuals in both developed and developing countries to invest in adolescent girls. Governments should enact and enforce national laws that raise the age of marriage to 18 and should promote community-based efforts that support girls’ rights and prevent child marriage and its consequences.

Adolescents and youth must be provided with age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education to develop the knowledge and skills they need to protect their health throughout their lives. However, education and information are not enough. Good quality reproductive health services must also be readily available in order for adolescents to make informed choices and be healthy.

At the local level, communities should provide the infrastructure to deliver reproductive health care in a youth-friendly and sensitive way.

Underlying all these efforts is the understanding that the dignity and human rights of adolescent girls must be respected, protected and fulfilled.  Today, we call on governments, the international community and all stakeholders involved to take measures that enable adolescent girls to make responsible life choices and to provide the necessary support for them in cases when their rights are threatened.  Every young girl, regardless of where she lives, or her economic circumstances, has the right to fulfill her human potential. Today, too many girls are denied that right. We can change that, and we must.