HIV/AIDS and Malaria Prevention, A Key to Youth Development

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Mildred Chirwa

A lot of young people in Malawi die from Malaria and HIV/AIDS every day, despite these diseases being preventable. Although HIV/AIDS cannot be completely cured, there is treatment to help HIV-positive individuals. The youth in my community are not an exception to this challenge and this is why we organized a Grassroot Soccer Malaria and Grassroot Soccer HIV/AIDS camp to sensitize young people on prevention and treatment of these diseases.

I believe that young people should be strong and healthy if they are to contribute meaningfully to the development of their communities. Again, when young people are sick, some resources of development are diverted to save their lives, hence slowing down community development at different levels. For this same reason I decided to assist the Peace Corps Volunteer in my community in translating the manual content into Chichewa during the Malaria sessions. This training was completed in a day and it imparted young people with skills and knowledge on how malaria can be properly prevented and treated.

For the next three days, I worked with my counterpart, teachers, the youth club, and the women from my community to conduct a HIV/ AIDS training for fifty young people in my community. They were trained in how the virus spreads, prevention techniques, and the treatment available to people living with HIV. With so many misconceptions and myths surrounding the contraction and “cure” of HIV/ AIDS, the training helped to minimize incorrect information from the minds of the youth. In this training, the young people were also imparted with invaluable skills and knowledge in how gender-based violence is perpetuating the spread of the virus and how such gender disparities can be corrected by the youth in their communities.

“Moyo ndi mpamba (life is precious), usamalireni (take care of it)!!” was the key message for our whole training.

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