|Hon. J- Lu (center) a face of SRHR and youth development in Malawi|
I have interacted with Hon. Juliana Lunguzi, the Member of Parliament for Dedza East constituency on several occasions the notable ones are Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) conferences and of course parliament. One thing that has always struck me about her is that she is very dedicated to the promotion of people’s SRHR and youth development.
This entry is not about her political life but rather her ceaseless passion towards the promotion of vulnerable girls and young people in Malawi.
During this year’s National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) Annual Meeting on SRHR that was held in Lilongwe, she told the young participants who gathered in the meeting that even though her age is outside the United Nations definition of a youth, she will not stop championing the rights and welfare of young people.
This is amazing, I guess this is one of the reasons she has become darling to many young people in the county. The lady simply has the welfare of young people at heart.
It is not a secret that young people are vulnerable to all kinds of health challenges in the country. The mere fact that young people are excluded from taking part in decision making processes tells a lot about their situation. The youth do not actively participate in making decisions about their health and some strategies that are aimed at promoting young people’s welfare are developed without their input.
It is against this background that Malawi needs to do more about young people’s SRH situation as HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s), unsafe abortions, Menstrual hygiene, lack of access to contraceptives and SRH information are still menacing young people.
Hon. Lunguzi, has been a role model who has put all her energy pushing for quality and comprehensive SRHR services so that young people can grow in a good environment that is capable of enabling to attain their goals so as to meaningfully participate to the development of their communities.
One of the most interesting approaches she uses is working closely with the youth whereby she encourages them to actively participate on different issues. She is always disseminating awareness messages about HIV/AIDS and SRH to young people. Furthermore, her continuous engagements and advocacy efforts with various duty bearers is commendable as well.
It is important to support young people and we should always remember that the average population structure in Malawi is youthful and empowering them will ensure sustainable economic and health development in the country.
Lastly, I firmly believe that it is very hard to develop this country if we continue ignoring the health of young people hence I look forward to many J- Lu’s in Malawi!!!