HSI Is Pleased To Welcome Youth for Development and Productivity (YODEP): Supporting Malawian youths for a better future

Youth for Development and Productivity (YODEP) is uplifting the country of Malawi by strengthening its foundation: the next generation. Operating in the districts of Zomba, Mangochi and Ntcheu, the nonprofit mainly serves children and youths, with the goal of creating a Malawian society that is healthy, educated, free of poverty and empowered to build a better future.

YODEP was founded in 1998 by Richards Mkwapatira, who saw a gap in the existing educational system and realized there was an opportunity to do more for the young people of Malawi.

“Children in the communities have to wait until they are six years of age to start their education. As an organization, we decided with the local communities that this should change if we [are] to achieve better education for the children,” said Mkwapatira. “We also noticed that children who attend community-based centers do better in primary school. When children are in community-based centers, their parents have the flexibility to do their daily chores without big problems. The future of our communities and country lies in the children if they are properly trained at a tender age.”

While YODEP’s focus is serving youths, the organization also addresses broader issues, such as crisis response and women’s empowerment. Today, it boasts a comprehensive suite of nine core programs, each of which provide targeted essential services, education and, in some cases, supplies for the young people it serves: 

  • Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD), which ensures that children ages three to five receive essential care, first aid and developmental support.
  • Basic Education, which supports high-quality foundational education for youths and aims to reduce dropout rates.
  • Child Protection and Child Safeguarding, a program for which YODEP is working with the Government of Malawi to protect young people from abuse and violence.
  • Livelihood and Food Security, dedicated to improving food and nutrition security at the household level.
  • Health, which aims to mitigate the spread of disease and reduce the high mortality rates in Malawi.
  • Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH), which offers supportive services, education and reproductive care products for adolescents aged 10 through 18.
  • Special Needs Programme, which recognizes the potential in children with disabilities and provides the tools necessary to help them succeed. 
  • Humanitarian Response, a program which responds to disasters in Malawi, helping ensure that the affected children, young people and communities receive timely aid.
  • Gender, Human Rights, Governance and Social Accountability and Inclusion, aiming to uphold gender equality, human rights, governance and social accountability in all programs.

In its 25 years of operation, YODEP has grown into a team of 32 paid employees and 9,000 volunteers across different communities, who are working to build a better future for Malawi and its citizens. By preparing young people for greater success in all areas of their lives, this dedicated nonprofit is setting off a ripple effect of positive change in the community, which will continue to grow over time and across generations.

Through YODEP’s work, “The youth will be empowered economically and will be responsible for the development of this country. They will learn skills that will also give them employment, while the women and young girls will be empowered economically, thereby improving household food security and income that will help in the reduction of poverty. The project will ensure that communities are economically not dependent,” said Mkwapatira.

To learn more and/or support YODEP, please visit their website https://hsifiscalsponsor.org/