Empowering young women to actively participate in socio-economic development

In 2019, Catherine was without hope and motivation to engage in any economic activity. Catherine had lost confidence in herself in 2018 when her husband, James (not real name), had started a fishing business. James usually stays home four days a month and the rest of the days are spent in Zomba town and surrounding districts like Machinga and Blantyre where he sells the fish. Since James started the business, Catherine caught him cheating with other women including sex workers on several occasions. She was so upset and depressed because she knew she was at high risk of contracting HIV due to her husband’s risky sexual behaviour.

Picture of Catherine
Picture of Catherine during outreach clinic. (Photo Credit: Chikondi, 2022)

She says her life turned around in May 2021 when she joined Tikondane DREAMS club and a team from USAID’s Malawi EMPOWER Project visited the club to provide different sexual reproductive health and HIV services including information on Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – medicine taken to prevent getting HIV. She says the session with Malawi EMPOWER convinced her to start taking PrEP. Catherine says PrEP boosted her confidence that she got the energy to open a restaurant in June 2021.  “I’m now able to run my business without stress, knowing I’m protected from HIV,” she says. Malawi EMPOWER realizes that women’s health care services must be prioritized to enable women like Catherine actively participate in efforts that make the world more sustainable.

#HappyInternationalWomen’sDay #GenderEqualityTodayForASustainableTomorrow

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