Some youths in Malawi have joined forces to implement a giant joint initiative called “Youth Alliance Against Covid-19” to systematically raise awareness on the Covid-19 pandemic through online campaigns and training of civic educators.
The youth alliance has brought together partners comprising reputable organizations working with youths in various fields such as sexual reproductive health, gender and youth empowerment.
The partners comprise: Youth Wave, Sustainable Development Goals Corps Malawi, Grassroot Soccer, Great Minds property group-UK, and the Joseph Kamwendo Foundation.
Speaking during the launch of the Alliance, Eneless Pemba, who is Malawi’s Eastern Region Chapter Coordinator, said the involvement of young people in the fight is essential as they form a large percentage of the country’s population.
“It is crucial for youth-led organizations to join hands in fighting against the pandemic. It’s high time African governments decentralized their efforts from National Covid-19 committees predominance and concentrate on the involvement of young leaders,” said Pemba.
Pemba is president of the Malawi Youth Sustainable Development Goals Corps and also the president of Yali Alumni Malawi Chapter in Malawi.
She lamented that current Malawi’s Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 sidelines the youth as it comprises only top government officials and other social leaders.
“Let us remember that the future belongs to the youth and as a nation, we shall be accountable to anything that affects these young people if we fail to invest in their health as well as protect them from the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
Ambassadors in the Alliance include entrepreneurs, academicians, counselors, and health personnel.
Together they have resolved to conduct awareness and sensitization through various social media platforms such as Zoom, Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook on public health, personal hygiene, use of masks and tip-tap buckets and updated Covid-19 statistics.
Project officer of the initiative, who is also the leader of Youth Wave, Bernard Kalua described the Alliance as an important step in fighting the pandemic among youths.
“Fundamentally, Malawi’s future, just like any other African country is dependent on the health well-being of the youth and Covid-19 poses a threat to Malawi’s plans of achieving Goal number 3 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which promotes good health and well-being.
“Hence young leaders should be on the front line in developing youth tailor-made solutions to the pandemic,” he said.
The initiative has already reached out to more than 100 people with messages encouraging social distance, staying home and washing hands regularly through the online campaign.
Realizing that only well-trained and informed young change-makers can help boost the fight against Covid-19 in Malawi, the Alliance has so far trained 100 changemakers picked randomly from 26 districts of the country through an online Covid-19 course they offered.
The change makers have been linked to District Councils and community leaders as well as strategically placed in Health Centers and Youth Networks to create and coordinate collective efforts and ensure unity of action in tackling Covid-19.
One of the Change Makers, Bridgita Flao expressed determination and hope that the well-timing of the capacity building activity will help them to disseminate accurate information about the pandemic in their respective communities.
By Cannon Chenjezi