Women and youth Activist leads in implementing Youth Action Lab programme

A youth activist Chimwemwe Banda who is the founder of Citizen Impact organization (CIO) has been selected to implement a one-year programme called Youth Action Lab with the project’s goal of ending discrimination and stigma among youth and women living with HIV and AIDS in Mzimba, Rumphi and surrounding areas of northern Malawi.

The project started on 28 March 2021 and will end on 28 March, 2022.

The Youth Action Lab is a one-year co-creation lab for grassroots youth activists in the global south which works to support their movements to become more resilient and sustainable in their pursuit of a more equitable world.

It is innovative, safe, active, inclusive, collective, representative and has connected space for online and physical grassroot activities which thoughtfully consider diverse contests and ecosystems to better resources for them to flourish with their communities.

The initiative will act as a hub for testing new ways of working within civil society and mobilizing learnings from across sectors in support of youth-led movements.

The participants in the lab work will build political solidarity and networks which will help in strengthen capabilities in engaging with policy processes and access resources to support their movement.

Speaking on Thursday when presenting the project outline to the stakeholder members at St John of God hospital in Mzuzu, CIO Executive Director Chimwemwe Banda said the project aims at ending discrimination and stigma against people who are living with HIV and AIDS which is a very serious challenge in Malawi.

“This project is just awesome as it fights against discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS where here in Malawi is a very big challenge whereby if we see someone who is HIV positive, we feel that he/she not important in the development of this country. So, with the coming in of youth action lab, we hope now we will no longer experience such discriminations as this empowers and motivates young people and women that they can do it despite being HIV positive or having any disability,” said Banda.

Banda (standing): Youth Action Lab will empower youth and women

Banda further said she has already made partnerships with other stakeholders and organizations so as to make the implementation works done easily.

"So far, we have partnered social welfare, Ministry of health under SRHR, St John of God hospital for mental health guidance and counseling among the youth, TEVETA for certification and technical support.

Basically, we are doing activities in mental health, sexual reproductive health, enterprenuership skills in tailoring and computer skills and human rights skills" She explained.

In his remarks, TEVETA northern region Manager Joseph Chikopa thanked CIO for partnering with them in this project implementation.

He said as a body, they felt duty bond when approached to partner with CIO and felt that it was necessary to partner with them.

"When we heard the good news that Chimwenwe Banda, youth Activist want to partner with us, we felt duty bond because we are indicatory body in terms of provision of technical and vocational training here in Malawi. So, when we approached, we felt that it was necessary to partner with them in terms of provision of technical and vocational skills to the youth and women so that we combat discrimination against them.

And currently after these training assessments, we agreed to train the youths and women in three traits, tailoring and designing, carpentry and joinery and art work which will consist of painting and decoration and the trainings will run for 6 months and at the end of the end of the trainings, the trainees will be issued the certificates,” said Chikopa.

In his words, one of the project participants Isaac Chisambi recommended the project saying this will help the youth to undergo the training which will give them confidence in themselves so that they should fulfill their dreams in future.

The Youth Action Lab is a project supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).