All roads led to Manica Ground in Balaka on 21 August as Malawi commemorated the International Youth Day. Thousands of young people and adults braved the scotching sun at Manica to appreciate various youth-led activities.
The International Youth Day (IYD) is customarily celebrated on 12 August each year worldwide. However, In Malawi it was shifted to 21 August to accommodate the Guest of Honor’s schedule, Madam Getrude Mutharika, who is also the government champion for the Graca Machel Trust project.
IYD was jointly organized by Maikhanda Trust, Goal Malawi and National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) under the theme: Youth Building Peace: Role of the Youth in Health, Population, Environment and Entrepreneurship.
Maikhanda used the event to advocate for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCHAH+N) because the International Youth Day is one of the key days through which advocacy work in Malawi should be conducted for the Graca Machel Trust’s project.
The advocacy champion for this project, Her Excellency Madam Dr. Getrude Mutharika, graced the occasion on the invitation of Maikhanda and all organizing partners endorsed her as the Guest of Honor for the event. This meant that planning for the event involved State House officials who are mandated by law to guide on logistics for government officials mainly the presidency.
The first lady attended the event as the RMNCAH+N champion to advocate for the GMT cause apart from giving a keynote speech in line with the International Youth Day. The speech urged young people to stay safe from early marriages, HIV infection, drugs and substance abuse. She also spoke on role of the youth in environmental conservation, population growth and entrepreneurship.
The event was also spiced up by activities like solitary walk where various messages were displayed; live band performances by Skeffa Chimoto, Nepman and Piksy, pavilion walk that was led by the first lady to appreciate and learn what various NGOs are doing in the areas of health, population, environment and entrepreneurship; speeches by government, UN agencies’ representative, youth representative and a keynote speech by the Guest of Honor, Dr. Gertrude Mutharika.