Young People Are Succeeding in Helping Other Youth Obtain Care
Published on July 28, 2022
A Youth Mobilizer in Malawi: Scaling up family planning uptake in remote communities
Community volunteers play a crucial role in helping women access family planning services in the lakeshore district of Mangochi, Malawi. Known in her community as ‘Eliza,’ Elizabeth Abasi is a 25-year-old interpersonal communication agent (IPC) – or mobilizer — who works in the Makawa area located along beautiful Lake Malawi. Her goal is to encourage people, especially young people, in the community to access voluntary, integrated family planning services provided by mobile outreach teams in remote areas of the district.
After participating in IPC refresher trainings supported by the MOMENTUM Private Healthcare Delivery project, Eliza redoubled her efforts mobilizing people to access family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) services. MOMENTUM is leveraging the work of Tsogolo Langa, a program funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth Development Office, to increase coverage of family planning and integrated health services through mobile outreach clinics in remote areas of eight districts in Malawi.1
Increasing Confidence Through Training
According to Eliza, prior to the training conducted by MOMENTUM in November 2021, she was uncomfortable approaching people regarding family planning and other sexual and reproductive health information. “I had no confidence to explain and answer questions to do with family planning and integrated SRH services because of my own knowledge gaps and lack of public speaking skills,” she explained.
MOMENTUM’s training focused on strengthening mobilizers’ ability to deliver accurate information on family planning and sexual and reproductive health services, including how to address barriers to uptake of services and how to connect with young people on these topics. Training activities like role plays, group work, and simulations helped Eliza and other IPC workers gain confidence and competence. Before the training, Eliza brought an average of 10 clients per month to the mobile outreach clinics. Post-training, she secures an average of 25 clients per month to every outreach clinic.
Youth Mobilizers Are Having an Impact
An analysis of outreach data for all eight districts, including the total number of clients seen and couple-years of protection (CYPs), shows increased contributions by mobilizers/IPC agents. Over a seven-month period (July 2021 – January 2022), approximately 60 percent of all clients served were referred through mobilizers. This is a significant contribution and speaks to the important role that youth mobilizers, like Elizabeth Abasi, play.
Eliza is enjoying this work, saying, “As a young woman, I take pride in seeing adolescent girls having easy access to contraceptives which reduces cases of teenage pregnancies and school dropouts in our community.”
- Nkhatabay, Mchinji, Dedza, Mwanza, Chikwawa, Phalombe, Chiradzulu and Mangochi