Youth radio programs in Malawi have sparked multiple policy and community actions to combat gender-based violence (GBV) and child, early, and forced marriage and to increase access to mental health services. These actions come after PROPEL Health provided support to raise awareness of these issues through two activities. First, the project developed and disseminated two crucial curriculums—one on child, early, and forced marriage and GBV, and another on mental health and the shortage of mental health services, particularly for youth. Second, PROPEL Health continued work, started under the former USAID-funded Health Policy Plus project, to organize youth radio listening clubs to help raise awareness of and disseminate accurate information about critical issues facing local communities in Malawi.

As a result of these efforts, local radio programs in Malawi are now using their platform to hold leaders accountable for enforcing the child marriage law and to educate communities on how to respond to and prevent GBV. After a series of radio programs on child, early, and forced marriage and GBV, a traditional authority in Monkey Bay publicly committed to enforcing the child and forced marriage law stating, “Dzimwe Radio has been insisting that I intervene and show my commitment in dealing with child marriages, hence my order to demote those village heads [found to not be enforcing the law].” Also, due to the radio shows, local police in Mchinji began holding town meetings about GBV and community members involved police and victim support units in investigations, which led to the dissolution of child marriages and arrests and fines for the adult perpetrators.

Similarly, after Mudzi Wathu Radio in Mchinji aired programs about youth mental health challenges and a lack of available care, health centers in Mchinji trained nurses on how to treat youth with non-severe mental health challenges. Biziwiki Mwatibu Banda, the clinical officer at Mchinji District Referral Hospital, commented, “We are very thankful to Mudzi Wathu Community Radio for giving youth a platform to express their views and present their complaints… After hearing those complaints, our management decided to train one healthcare provider from each of the 21 health centers, aiming to provide mental health counseling in all rural areas.”