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Forty-two percent of Malawian girls are married before they are 18-years-old. This statistic places Malawi at 12 on the international ranking for child marriage prevalence (UNICEF State of the World’s Children Report, 2017). 

Poverty and entrenched cultural norms and practices are the key drivers for child marriage in the country. In February 2015, the Government of Malawi adopted the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill which set the minimum of marriage at 18. However, there were some discrepancies with the bill given that the legal age of marriage was 15 (with parental consent) according to the country’s constitution.

 

SBCC Poster
sbcc poster

Why Radio Distance Learning?

One Community provides health and social services to its priority audiences through low-literate volunteers called Community Resource Persons (CRPs), who are recruited, trained and employed in all 7-program districts. CRPs need ongoing knowledge and skills building, as well as recognition and acceptance by the communities they serve.

While One Community staff are able to provide some one-on-one support to over 2,700 CRPs, their numbers and geographic spread make

this support inadequate. One Community developed and broadcast a radio distance learning (RDL) program, Umoyo Wabwino, targeted primarily at CRPs to ensure that they receive ongoing knowledge and skills building support in a standardized manner. In addition to solving the problem of numbers and spread, the RDL reinforced and enhanced the work CRPs did and increased their standing and acceptance within their communities as resource persons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RDL 2

Group Facilitator in Mulanje District shares his experiences with the RDL Program

 

 How does one organization regularly provide guidance and support to thousands of health workers in secluded communities across hundreds of miles? This plight, although specific, is an all too common one that anyone working in health or development constantly faces. How does one maximize project impact with finite resources at hand?

One Community, USAID’s flagship community-based response to Malawi’s HIV epidemic, aims to mitigate the impact of HIV and prevent new infections among priority populations by focusing on building strong HIV-competent communities, families and individuals. One Community is implemented by CCP, Project HOPE and Plan International.