Making life-changing decisions may take longer for others, but some do not like to waste opportunities more importantly after searching and gathering adequate information on the benefits of positive change to anchor their lives.

So it is with youth leaders in Lilongwe and Kasungu districts who share why they decided to start using contraception and how they have shared the yielded benefits with their peers.

“I first heard about contraception when I was 15 in 2016 from Zodiak and MBC radios,” Youth leader Ruth Kampindo, 19 years old, from Daeyang cluster, T/A Chimutu in Lilongwe opens her narration to share her contraception story.

Radio and youth clubs seem to be major sources of contraception tips and alert apart from interpersonal communication, community discussions, and community call through horn speakers.

Youth leader Mtisunge Banda, 19, from Nsolola T/A Mwase in Kasungu district, who operates from Kasungu district hospital cluster, shares a similar concept with Kampido of where they firstly accessed pregnancy prevention information.

“I heard about contraception from radios and relatives when I was about 14 years but it never came into my mind at that age to start enjoying the benefits of pregnancy prevention.

When I turned 16, Mr. Chiwede who is a prominent Health Surveillance Assistant (HSA) in our area approached me on several occasions to start using contraceptives because he felt my lifestyle was at risk of falling into unwanted pregnancy and possibly sexually transmitted infections. Maybe because he was also my grandfather, I did not honor his plea because some relatives were also threatening that I would become sterile in the future when I would want to have a child,” said Banda, Kasungu FPAM Youth Action Movement Vice-Chair.

Banda gave implant contraception testimony during Family Planning discussions at Chiyambi Youth Club in Kasungu District

Mentored Youth Leader Lucy Dismasi, 25 years old, mother of three, from TA Kabudula in Lilongwe, shares that she got information about contraception from the Ngwangwa Youth Network in 2018. “This information enabled me to opt for a ten years loop pregnancy prevention method,” Dismas said.  

Getting information and adopting the information are indeed two different issues. But the youth leaders Ruth Kampido, Mtisunge Banda, and Lucy Dismasi called for waits to wait no more and straight to the health service providers to get the contraceptives of their choices.

“I accessed Implanon implant that protects for three years from one of the Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) outreach clinics in April 2019 because in my family we are three girls and all my elder sisters fell pregnant in their teens. I never wanted to get disturbed to complete my secondary school education or commit to any business of my choice. And hearing from radios about the benefits of contraception like the ability to complete education and careful decision making in business management, it made me generate confidence to have an implant to avoid unintended pregnancy,” Kampido explained.

Kampido remembers that the first clinic she visited in Area 25 in Lilongwe made her feel nervous because she feared some clients in the waiting line would extend the rumor that every girl who seeks contraception services is perceived as a sex worker. She said, “Many people at the clinic insulted and condemned my choice because I looked young except one female nurse who called me aside and gave me the word of encouragement to go ahead with my decision, and she emphasized that for the sake of my future, I needed long term contraception.”

Mtisunge Banda provides that her Life was going on well as a school and town girl. But towards the end of 2018 when she was preparing to sit for standard eight primary school examinations, she realized she was pregnant and she dropped out of school at the age of 17. “Immediately after birth, I remembered my grandfather’s requests and I got a three years implant from an FPAM mobile clinic,” she explained.

Lucy Dismasi says she got a loop in 2019 through FPAM mobile outreach clinic that visited her area, Ngwangwa. Her decision was motivated by her plan not to have another child until six or seven years in order to boost the economic activities of her family.

Dismas remains unshaken while fighting myths and misconceptions circulating about contraception in Ngwangwa in Lilongwe

“My friends discouraged me a lot because they feared a rumor that loop drops into the uterus and causes cancer. Some said the loop moved into the fallopian tubes and blocks the menstruation cycle which ends up in ovarian cysts. But I gathered courage because I needed a solution that would enable me not to conceive again until my family’s economic status improves and I got into the loop. I do menses normally and I feel no problem. This evidence is now a tool I use to teach many girls and women about the benefits of contraception,” Dismas said.  

The youth leaders provide benefits they calculate and backtrack to have emanated from accessing the contraception services on time.

“You cannot believe that I’m financially independent. I’m an Airtel mobile money agent, and I’m planning to get back to school to complete my secondary education,” Kampido shared her excitement.

Banda also said, “Currently I have managed to support my parents with farming and marketing of agro produce and immediately my child turns 2 years, I’m planning to get back to school to enroll in secondary education. And there is no worry of another unwanted pregnancy because I’m fully covered with an implant.”

Dismas however finds that she cannot only share her benefits from having a loop. She is highly motivated to talk about contraception benefits from the girls and women she has referred to the hospital to access family planning services. “Most of my friends have learned that loop is good contraception and seven of them have already taken this contraception and their morbidity cannot be remembered. They are now committed to farming and small-scale businesses,” she explained. 

There is good news from all the youth leaders who have the full throttle in advocating for youth access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services. Their difference is felt as they pass contraception information while standing tall as models that create demand for family planning services.

Youth leader Ruth Kampindo recalls that when she heard FPAM was looking for youth to support community mobilization for people of reproductive age to easily access sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and services, she quickly approached Community Reproductive Health Promoter (CRHP) Jaziel Kalikokha for a place and she started discharging the advocacy duties immediately.

“I have dispelled a lot of myths and misconceptions circulating contraception among girls and women in Nchenzi. Common myths so far point to a girl’s failure to get pregnant at the time when they would want to get married, women or men’s loss of libido during sex, and that contraception causes cancer.

I have reached more than 50 girls and convinced more than 10 girls to access contraception since I joined youth advocacy in SRHR with FPAM. This has been possible through one on one dialogue. The contraception dialogue usually starts as a chat related to evident repercussions that some girls are facing like dropping out of school due to teenage pregnancies. Such topics are discussed at the market, water kiosks, school break sessions, and sports events. In these places some girls are convinced to access family planning services,” Kampido explained.  


Youth leader Mtisunge Banda claims she is living both as a mentor as well as a model of ‘teenage pregnancy case corrections’ to fellow girls. Being a vice chairman of the Youth Action Movement (YAM) for FPAM Kasungu Youth Life Center, she organizes youth club visits to share more information about contraception and other SRHR issues.

“I engage in contraception discussions slowly by starting with a little probe if girls and young women have ever heard or used contraception before. Later I extend the discussion to give in that the unwanted pregnancy I got was total negligence because access to contraception services was available. I encourage them not to fall into an unwanted pregnancy trap when they have all the support and preventative measures around. And of course, other girls don’t respect our advice and it does not take long for them to carry babies or suffer from sexually transmitted infections. However, we feel some parents are not cooperative to accept that youth should be accessing SRHR information and services. This is why Chiyambi youth club is now targeting such elders to join the sexual reproductive health advocacy where they will be linked to community health workers for a sustainable engagement in youth mobilization for such lifesaving services,” Banda said.

The Ngwangwa youth leader finds that most girls and young women in her area walk long distances to access pregnancy prevention services. She connects longer distances to the health facilities with the presence of teenage pregnancies in her area. “The nearest health facility can demand one to walk 17km to Denza hospital, 15km to Ngoni health center, or 35km to Kabudula Community Hospital. It demotivates the youth who already are in financial problems to cover transport costs,” Dismas explained.

However, she still has the reason to smile following that most of her friends have learned that loop is good contraception and seven of them have already taken this contraception.

“The area also has no Community Based Distribution Agents (CBDAs) to support the provision of short-term contraceptives. We only have Health Surveillance Assistant (HSA) who manages a health post but more often he faces commodity stock-outs. We are really glad to have FPAM bring a youth-fashioned mobile clinic which will support our ground efforts to advocate for youth access to all sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services,” Dismasi added.

FPAM continues to engage young people in the promotion of youth access to contraception and other sexual and reproductive health services through static and mobile outreach clinics. This effort also responds to the social-economic problems that have been felt due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has fueled teenage pregnancies as all schools are closed and job security and earnings have also plummeted making parents and guardians face a stifle to support the needs of their families.