Thirty youth leaders, representing a variety of youth-led organizations from across Malawi, graduated from a PROPEL Health-sponsored, week-long intense policy communication workshop held September 25–29. The workshop strengthened the capacity of the youth leaders to effectively analyze data and present evidence-based policy-related issues to influence policy decisions, enabling them to better engage decisionmakers at national, district, and community levels. During the workshop, youth leaders also interacted with a panel of media experts who provided tips and techniques on how, and when, to effectively engage media for policy advocacy.

Lonjezo Nankalazi, one of the youth participants, described the training as “comprehensive and focused on developing effective strategies for conveying complex policy ideas to diverse audiences.” Now, youth leaders are implementing policy communication strategies they developed during the training to engage policymakers in their districts on sexual and reproductive health and rights; HIV; climate change; early childhood development; and water, sanitation, and hygiene. As they do so, PROPEL Health will continue to provide technical support and invite youth leaders to participate in various national and district policy processes, ultimately increasing and improving youth engagement in policy, governance, and advocacy.

Participants, including Tapiwa Longwe (center) and Rachel Nyahue (right) at PROPEL Health’s GALS and PYD training in August 2023. Photo: Tapiwa Longwe

Similarly, in August 2023, PROPEL Health trained another 30 Malawian youth to become proficient in the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) methodology and the Positive Youth Development (PYD) approach. GALS encourages the active participation of all household or organizational members in decision-making, nurturing leadership qualities in both young men and women for a more inclusive approach, while PYD focuses on nurturing the potential and skills of youth. The five-day training engaged youth in practical exercises, equipping them with the skills and experience they need to apply the GALS and PYD approaches in their youth clubs and organizations and to champion gender equality. Youth participants analyzed gender dynamics, set visions for themselves and their organizations, and conducted a social and leadership empowerment mapping exercise to identify opportunities they could leverage.

Youth leaders who participated in the PROPEL Health trainings are now sharing what they learned with their communities, like Sasinu Tsoka (pictured) who led the Nambazo Youth Club in developing vision journeys. Photo: Phalombe Youth Arms Organisation

Now that the training has concluded, youth leaders are continuing to receive mentorship and supervision from PROPEL Health as they cascade GALS and PYD within their home communities. Already, youth organization Pamudzi Pathu Initiative cascaded the training in Machinga for 20 youth, doing so without support from PROPEL Health, to address gender and social injustices in economic development using inclusive and participatory processes.