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Jornos Trained In SRH, Child Rights.

Jornos Trained In SRH, Child Rights.

At least 50 journalists, electronic media presenters, and managers from faithbased media houses have been
trained in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and child rightsreporting, courtesy of the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) and its partners, with funding from the N’zatonse project.

EAM’s Deputy Secretary General, Bishop Grey Mwarabu, encouraged the media practitioners to focus more on reporting issues of sexual and reproductive health to people of different faiths, as it is one way to share the right information to people of different faith and religious beliefs.

“One of the things that the faith community needs to understand is that sexual and reproductive health is a story for us all, and as the faith community, we are partly to blame for some of the problems happening in the country because we don’t preach or talk about them in time,”said Bishop Mwarabu.

He encouraged faith leaders to work together in managing issues related to sexual and reproductive health in their respective prayer houses.

“What we don’t know is that the faith community takes up a large percentage of the country’s population. The faith community is in a better position to help in resolving issues affecting the citizenry by providing them with spiritual messages that will change their mindset and let them know the truth about issues related to sexual reproductive health,” said Bishop Mwarabu.

One of the facilitators, Haward Kasiya, who is also the Health Services Manager for EAM, said sexual and
reproductive health should not take a holistic approach as many of the faith communities think. He said there are some sexual reproductive health ways that are permissible that faith leaders should focus on as they teach their congregations.

“Family planning is part of love, which the Bible and the Qur’an encourages.  The Bible says in Jeremiah 15:9,

‘The mother of seven will grow faint and breathe her last. Her sun will set while it is still day; she will be disgraced and humiliated. I will put the survivors to the sword before their enemies,” declares the LORD. ’

Which simply means a family should plan to have children, which will keep the mother healthy to look for the
children,” he said.

He also said the two-year period that women are told to breastfeed after delivery is not just from the health
authorities but from the Bible and Qur’an, which faith leaders should focus on in their preaching.

One of the participants, Hector Nkhoma from Radio Islam, said he was happy to have been part of the team and said the training has opened his focus to producing good health programs for family planning and other health issues.

“Honestly, family planning and other sexual reproductive health issues were deemed not to be for faith-based media to air, but this training has helped us to understand what our role is as faith-based media houses and journalists,” he said.

Commenting on the matter, Head of Programs for Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM), Ousmane Chunga, said the issue of population growth is a concern for every Malawian, and there is a need for every citizen to play a role to address it.

“Population growth should not be a blame game; we should all hold hands in dealing with the problem,” he said.

“There are ways that Allah put in place to control birth rate, one of which is in Qur’an 2 v. 233, which says, ‘Mothers shall suck their children for two years, and for these years she shall not conceive.’ This is one of the birth controls given by Allah,” he said.

He called upon faith leaders to give the right information on sexual and reproductive health to people, especially the youth, saying the youth are a large population of the country.

“51 percent of the country’s population is youth; it is important for the faith community to stand up and help in giving proper information to the adolescents,” said Chunga.

Media houses such as Television Islam, Living Waters, Blantyre Synod, Maziko, Luntha Television, Radio Islam, Radio Maria, Afribrief, and some freelance journalists were among the participants in the training.