Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. The estimated population of this country is nearly 14 million and yet this country falls in the the league of the world's least-developed countries. With the agricultural economy and rural population, Malawian government and people are challenged by low life expectancy and high infant mortality, poor economic growth, and various social and health problems. This country has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS AIDS, and it struggles with severe issues in several human rights areas. Violence against women, human trafficking and child labor, are just a couple of problems the people of this country are facing each day. One of the social issues in Malawi is a concerning custom in which very young girls can be forced into marriages. In such a poor country, parents will often choose to force their daughters into marriage to escape financial difficulties, or even to set of loans. The Family Planning Association of Malawi is established in 1999, as a non-governmental organization, to address all these important issues. Their focus is mainly set on young people and adolescents, protection of their rights, prevention of HIV and AIDS infections, and building safe and reliable information services to all people of Malawi.
The Family Planning Association of Malawi
The Family Planning Association of Malawi had been assisting Malawi in a number of ways. This institution had cooperated with Malawi government and formed a number of organizations and resources to improve the existing conditions in this country and overall quality of life of Malawian citizens. The organization has established Youth Life Centres all over the country, to provide information and services about family planning, testing for HIV and AIDS, information on the sexual and reproductive health issues, and other important subjects. Participation of young people who lacked information and services in this area is further encouraged by discussions, theatre, publications and audiovisual materials on these topics.
A special program is designed for sex workers and focused on promoting safer sex. The Family Planning Association of Malawi also has a large group of volunteers who distribute condoms and motivate citizens to become actively involved in family planning, and sexually transmitted infection treatment and prevention.
Their efforts are just small steps on a long journey towards equality for men and women. Malawi is a traditional society with strong customary laws and traditions. However, the country had embarked on a democratic path in 1994, and a recent bill was passed in Malawi rising the age of legal marriage to 16 with parental consent.