Tony Khanyepa is a key SFH partner in Malawi, where his youth organisation has trained 140 people in the most effective use of two CALLED TO CARE workbooks.
Born and raised in Blantyre, when Tony was 15 he joined the Youth Arm Organisation, where he gained a lot of knowledge, information and skills on human rights, youth development and health.
“The organization had a weekly 30 minute youth magazine programme called Straight Talk, and I served on the panel. Participating in such programmes helped me advance my interest in youth development and activism.
“In 2003, some friends and I came up with the idea of establishing a group of youth activists, leading to the establishment of an NGO called the Youth Activists Initiative Organisation. Our main aim was to empower our fellow young people with information and skills through motivational talks, especially in secondary schools and youth clubs.”
In 2004, the organization secured a programme at Joy Radio called Youth Forum, where they discussed challenges affecting the youth in Malawi. These included HIV and AIDS, human rights, gender, education, climate change, skills development and entrepreneurship issues. The programme ran for a period of 2 years, and Tony was the producer. “With the experience we had, we continued producing and delivering radio programmes on different radio stations until 2012, when we managed to secure another youth magazine programme with Star Radio called Youth Empowerment, which ran till mid-2014.
In 2012, Tony attended the International Interfaith AIDS Conference in Lilongwe, Malawi, where Rev Canon Gideon Byamugisha from Uganda was one of the main speakers, and where he received copies of the CALLED TO CARE handbooks. After reading handbooks 8 and 10, he felt inspired and motivated to be proactive in delivering messages about HIV and AIDS to young people. Then, looking at the challenges which young people in Malawi face and the type of knowledge and skills they need but which are not available to them, and also looking at the lack of parenting skills by parents and guardians, He came up with the ‘Lesson for Life Project’ to help bridge the gap between parents and children, and also to create dialogue between the youth and the wider community. In this way it would provide young people with knowledge and skills related to their daily lives. Tony says:
“Since we had already run a lot of sessions with secondary school students and other groups, we decided to use the CALLED TO CARE workbooks in our work. When we started using the workbooks with our target groups, we received good feedback from participants and they always asked for more sessions. At that time we were not giving out the workbooks because we had only one each of CALLED TO CARE nos. 8 and 10.”
Tony then contacted the STRATEGIES FOR HOPE Trust through an email requesting support for a workshop using workbook nos. 8 and 10, which was provided. “More recently, in partnership with STRATEGIES FOR HOPE and with financial support from MISEREOR, we have trained 70 youth leaders using CALLED TO CARE no. 8, My Life – Starting Now, and 70 adult youth educators, teachers, parents and care-givers using CALLED TO CARE no. 10, Parenting: a Journey of Love. Each participant received a copy of the relevant CALLED TO CARE workbook. The participants in these workshops have appealed to us to scale up the programme and also to produce these two manuals in our national language, Chichewa.”
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