Livelihood programs help youth secure a better future in Malawi

Thursday 7 June 2018

23-year old Peter is a proactive youth with a passion for designing clothes. Second born in a family of five, Peter completed his secondary school education in 2015.

Upon completion of his secondary school level, Peter was not successful to enroll with one of the Country’s universities.

Tertiary education in Malawi is not free. As such, one needs to be financially prepared when they are enrolled at any university.

Like any other person whose ambition is to go further with education, Peter was frustrated as his parents could not afford to pay for his education.

Some day through his friend Charles, Peter was introduced to a youth club in his community that was established by Save the Children’s Sponsorship Adolescent development program.

At the youth club, Peter went through a two-month long vocational skills training in tailoring.

When he completed his training, Peter begun sewing clothes for his family using a rented machine. Soon enough neighbors noticed the works of his gifted hands and they began asking him to make clothes for them at a fee. He made enough money and managed to purchase his own sewing machine later on.

“I benefited greatly from the vocational training. look at me now, within in a short period of time I am now able to earn money and fulfill my needs. I recently bought 2 bicycles and a sewing machine.”

One of the components of Adolescent Development program is Adolescent Skills for Successful Transition whose aim is to improve economic outcomes among young adolescents, both in and out of school.

Under this component, vocation skills trainings are conducted as a way of preparing the adolescents with skills, knowledge and competencies to engage in sustainable livelihood activities. Over 100 youths including Peter who had no hope for the future have been trained to date.

He has successfully grown his business and makes reasonable profit every month. “The vocational skill I acquired through the training has helped me gain independence and I am now able to fend for myself a thing I was unable to do.” Peter expressed his gratitude.

Now when Peter looks back, he says, “My life would have full of hardship it was not for Sponsorship.”

The journey he has embarked on is not without challenges. Peter does his business in the village, where prices of the clothes he makes are relatively low as such, the profit is not as high as he would have desired. He plans to move to town in future where he feels he can succeed better in business. He aspires to study Community Development one day. Through the business, he is saving up money to be able to pay for his tertiary education.

Unemployment in Malawi is estimated at 23% and entrepreneurship education not only enables young people to start a successful business, but also to become valuable contributors to Malawi's economy. Almost two in five people in Malawi are between the ages of 10 and 29, and more than two thirds of the country’s population are under the age of 30.  

The sponsorship programme is implemented in Zomba District (Southern Malawi) with support from well-wishers (sponsors) in the US and Italy. The programme aims at creating an enabling environment for children to Develop to their full potential. The program has four core components: Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD); Basic Education (BE); School Health and Nutrition (SHN); Adolescent Development (AD) and Livelihood as a non-core program.  In 2017, the programme reached a total number of 27871 children.