Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Margaret Magombo
It’s been a month since I got acquainted with Nsondole Youth Club. Comprising of about 30 young people, the group’s vigilance during this period of COVID-19 crisis cannot go unnoticed. What the group is doing in this area is very uncommon with established community tendencies. While most people in rural areas wait on authorities to assist them, Nsondole Youth Club members are taking matters into their own hands to defy the well-known norm.
The group has been taking phenomenal steps in the group village Kumbwani to preoccupy school-going youth during this period when formal schooling has been stopped. The group realizes the danger an idle youth faces in an area where culture venerates unhealthy sexual lifestyles. Before the Covid-19 crisis, meetings were held once a week. Presently, Nsondole Youth Club meets five times a week. Debate on developmental and life skills topics has been one key activity that spares the youth from indulging in risky and unproductive behaviors.
Upon noticing how the group has been prioritizing helping school-going members, I posed to the group the idea of forming study circles. The idea was considered attractive, the concerned members grouped themselves according to their class/grade and met thrice a week to discuss different subjects. It was very easy with the flexibility of the other non-school-going members to see and embrace it as their responsibility to be supervising the school-going members in the course of study circles. The study circles offer an opportunity for the school-going members to help each other with challenging schoolwork. Study circles seem to be the only viable option with the government’s newly introduced online learning. With my connection to the secondary and primary schools, I shoulder the responsibility of linking the group with the two schools to have access to books for them to conduct the study circles with ease.
I have been taking an active role with the group in trying to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The youth have been sensitizing the community on the spread and preventive measures of Covid-19. Furthermore, the group is giving a hand to their fellow community members in the installation of tip-tap hand-washing technology. Seeing the group’s initiative I have recently introduced it to mask sewing, taking their initiative a mile further from just an ordinary one.
This youthful folk is treading the untreated path inspired by the desire to see the change they desire to see. The youth have chosen to be their inspiration. My interaction and association with the group have revitalized my energy and zeal for impact. It’s of paramount importance that people should be empowered to think for themselves and desire to help themselves out before stretching their hands out to receive already packaged projects.