YWCA Mw in 2017



YWCA of Malawi in partnership with regional psychosocial initiative as well as World YWCA is working on a research project titled community model for fostering health and well-being of adolescent mothers and their babies. The research project is supported by Saving Brains. Saving Brains is a partnership of Grand Challenges Canada, Aga Khan Foundation Canada, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The ELMA Foundation, Grand Challenges Ethiopia, the Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation, the Palix Foundation, the UBS Optimus Foundation and World Vision Canada. The project aims at providing psychosocial support to teenage mothers in order of ensuring improved early child development in babies and well-being of marginalized married adolescent pregnant girls and young mothers in Malawi. The project is carried out in 3 districts of Malawi; Mulanje, Machinga and Blantyre.


In the month of July staff members were employed that included the project officer, project accountant and three coordinators from all districts that we are working in.


The meeting was conducted at College of medicine where staff members from YWCA Malawi and representatives from regional psychosocial support initiative ( REPSSI) were meeting to submit their work plans and to agree on how best they can work together to be successful in the project. Roles and responsibilities of each organization were agreed and clarified.


All stakeholders from the districts were invited and in attendance were the following ; District health officers (DHO) from all three districts, District social welfare officers  from all three districts, youth friendly services, representatives from Ministry of gender, children and social welfare, members of staff of YWCA and members of Staff from REPSSI. The main aim of the meeting was to introduce the project to all key stakeholders as well as formulating a work plan together.


There were three DEC meetings that were conducted, they were conducted in all three districts; Mulanje, Machinga and Blantyre. The meetings aimed at introducing the project to the government at district level through the executive members as well as members of the community. DEC members are also responsible for endorsement of projects at district level so that it is well received by members of the community. After all DEC meetings, the research project was endorsed.


There were two trainings that were done separately, the first one was for health workers and the second one was for peer champions. The trainings were all patronized by REPSSI and all training manuals were prepared to train individuals on how to provide psychosocial support to the adolescent mothers so as to help in the brain development of children. From each district the training of health workers targeted nursing officers, ECD coordinators and HAS’s. During training of peer champions five active young ladies were selected from all 3 districts to be trained so that they work together with the district coordinator from each site.


The following activities were conducted

  • Ethical approval from COMREC (College of Medicine research ethics committee)
  • Identification of a researcher who was expected to design data tools, conduct data analysis and also that will do manuscript write up. Monica from REPPSI was identified
  • Training of data collectors. ECD coordinators were trained in respect to their level of education and expertise. The training aimed at training all ECD coordinators on the data tools to be used, a questionnaire was designed to collect data and to ensure quality and to manage time during data collection a tablet was used and an offline application was designed to be used during the process of data collection. All data collectors were trained on how to collect data using the tablets.
  • Massive recruitment of mothers. The targeted number of mothers to be recruited was 90 in each district. After the recruitment, the adolescent mothers were then grouped into control group and intervention group. Each group contained 45 mothers. Since all mothers that were recruited were young, informed consent forms were signed.  Two consent forms were singed for and adolescent mothers less than the age of 18, one consent form was from the parent/guardian and the other one was from the mother herself and that the mother was also required to sign an assent form her child. For the mothers aged 18 only two forms were signed a personal consent form and an assent form for their child.
  • Data collection

Baseline data collection was conducted to all 90 mothers from all sites, submitted and analysis will follow

  • Mothers intervention meetings

The first intervention meetings for the mothers was conducted in the month of December, the intervention meetings were planned to be conducted twice a month.