Written by  Kondwani Chinele
Lack of sexuality information and belief in misconceptions are contributing to high teenage pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections among Malawian adolescents.
Mangulenje noted prevailing misconceptions among adolescents. Mangulenje noted prevailing misconceptions among adolescents.
This has been disclosed during an engagement which Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) had with mother group leaders and teachers on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Reporting Mechanisms held in Blantyre on Wednesday.
“Among others, we have come across information that adolescents convince each other to just bath after sex with the belief that they will not fall pregnant, but such girls have eventually become pregnant,” said Flora Mangulenje, a Teacher at Ngumbe Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) and a mother group member.
She suspects that such false beliefs are there due to lack of accurate information, “At school, we teach Life Skills which also includes sexuality issues. But the gap has come in because, in some instances, teenagers have still been regarded as minors, sexuality issues are not told as they are. This creates room for such misconceptions. But things are changing.”
 REPSSI Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Constantine Mitengo said the organisation has engaged the grouping after noting that most out of school and students do not know sexuality issues and how to report GBV.
“There are a lot of teenage pregnancies due to lack of knowledge….the GBV cases go unreported because the adolescents don’t know that they are being abused. We are hopeful that these teachers and mother
groups will enlighten the adolescents on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and GBV issues,” he said.
Mitengo noted that school going and out of school adolescents are facing a sexuality information gap and the trained Mother Group members and teachers will assist in reaching out to them and enhance
violence reporting to relevant authorities.
REPSSI in partnership with Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA-Malawi) has trained teachers and mother group leaders from Chilaweni and Ngumbe CDSS schools including the surrounding communities under 'AGYW Advocacy for Improved Delivery of Life Skills Education
in Malawi' Project with funding from Frontline AIDS.

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