Brief about NGO: Forum for AIDS Counseling and Training (FACT) is a new NGO which has been established and has been working in Blantyre since November 2016. This is an NGO founded by a young person to work with young people in provision of HIV prevention and youth friendly sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. The overall goal is to create the demand for young people to seek SRH services. So far we do not have major donors but we use small contributions from local well-wishers. What we have been able to do so far is provide comprehensive sexuality education through organized behavior change communication interventions (BCCI) in Ndirande and Manase. We also provide counseling to young couples and provide condoms and lubricants. As of this Saturday July 1, 2017, we have launched the Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) Blantyre tour at CI primary. The tour is expected to end in July 2018 after covering all Blantyre townships currently using few resources from well-wishing young people. The NGO is located in Mount-pleasant, Blantyre and has another office in Soche. As of this week we have been incorporated as a trust under the trustees act of Malawi at the Registrar general. The Founder and Executive Director of the NGO is Pemphero Mphande and the board chairperson is Prof John Chisi.

Today 1ST July, 2017 Forum AIDS counseling and training accompanied by 3 representatives from UNIMA Standing committee for sexual and reproductive health (SCORA) went to CI to chat with young and adolescent girls from Kampala, Blantyre. This was the start of a program called the Blantyre SRHR tour which will take us to almost all Blantyre townships by mid-2018, meeting the young, poor and often forgotten girls. The NGO was represented by the ED-Pemphero Mphande, the coordinator for SRH- Chimwemwe Waya and The community mobilization officer- Richard Longwe.

The story of these girls is interesting and touching. From Kampala, these girls from Catholic institute, Chichiri, Joyce Banda foundation, Zingwangwa progressive, St Pius etc primary and secondary schools, meet at CI to play netball 3 or 4 times a week. Some of them are school going and others do not go to school for various reasons. Others are young married girls.

We briefly discussed with them sexual and reproductive health services including HIV and STIs, sensitized them on their rights in demanding services, addressed some myths and misconceptions and questions.

It is sad to note the level of unawareness and misconception about sexual and reproductive health. For example one of the questions we were asked was if it is true that if you take 5 Panado or so (paracetamol) tablets you would avoid pregnancy.

Our team went there without funding from any major donors or third parties. This was a program sponsored by young people under FACT to reach out to fellow young people. This is a very good example of what you can achieve with so little if you desire to help others and indeed a very good example of “youth empowerment”. At the end we gave a gift of money to the winning team to motivate them and they were very excited.

One of the major problems that these girls face is menstrual materials; most of them cannot afford pads. We have formed a FACT Girls club with them so that we can keep following them up to see how they are progressing with school and their health and also help connect them to well-wishers.

If you would like to donate money to help these girls with reusable sanitary pads or their netball team or donate the same materials; if you are interested in sponsoring or joining us on our next program in which we will be going around Blantyre townships meeting adolescent girls; if you know any place where young girls can benefit from our program, please contact us on 0881756602,0994567746, 0992079678 or contact us through Facebook, twitter and instagram.