Malawi has a population of 15.3 million people and 36.7% are under the age of 24. Education expenditure is US $8.6 per student in primary school and health is US $26 per capita.


Malawi follows a formal education system where primary education lasts for 8 years and secondary education for 4. The adult literacy rate in Malawi has witnessed little change since 2005 and of the population 15 and over, 21% have never attended school. The majority of comprehensive sexuality education content is delivered in a stand-alone curriculum at the primary school level where the Life Skills Education series is used from grades 2-8. From Form 1-4 Life Skills and Sexual and Reproductive Health Education is delivered. A 2010 study conducted by UNESCO, UNFPA and UNICEF found that there was a general lack of teaching and learning resources, inadequate training of teachers and accompanied by a lack of knowledge of the sexual and reproductive issues, including HIV transmission.


The National Standards for Youth Friendly Health Services guide the provision of services to young people. Despite the fact that high awareness of sexually transmitted infections and HIV and AIDS exists among young people, only a small percentage has undergone an HIV test. The high prevalence of child marriage in the country exposes young girls to the risk of early pregnancy, HIV and STIs. In addition to this, teenage pregnancy, and the lower status of girls, increases the rate of school drop out rates for females.

The National Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policy (2009) references the need to incorporate issues such as basic emergency obstetric/neonatal care, cervical cancer screening, young people-friendly health services, antiretroviral therapy and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. The Malawi National AIDS Policy ensures access to optional HIV testing for all pregnant women. The National Plan of Action for Scaling up Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV Prevention Initiatives for Young People (2008-2012) combine all major HIV prevention initiatives for young people that are currently ongoing.

Updates and Stories

First Lady of Malawi joins High Level Group on ESA Commitment

30 July, 2014   |   Blog, Our people, Technical Coordination Group

The First Lady of Malawi, Madame Gertrude Mutharika, became the latest member to join the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Commitment’s High-Level Group. Madame Mutharika joins the High-Level Group, composed of prominent leaders from the Eastern a...


Workshops held at The National Cultural Festival in Mozambique

20 October, 2014   |   Blog, Events, Our people, Technical Coordination Group

Every two years, the Ministry of Culture organizes the National Cultural Festival in the province of Inhambane in Mozambique. The festival hosts domestic and international artists, cultural agents, and practitioners for a weeklong celebration of dive...


Education plays key role in ending teenage pregnancy across Eastern and Southern Africa

6 November, 2014   |   Blog, Our people, Technical Coordination Group

Every girl has the right to complete a quality education – however, the realities are that many do not make it through to their graduation. Teenage pregnancy is a significant cause to increased school dropout, with persistently high rates across E...

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Wonderful to have young reporters asking their questions to our high level panelists today at @UNESCO #UNESCO dialogue hosted by South Africa's Dept of Basic #Education on scaling up #comprehensivesexualityeducation #CSE #CSENOW #YouthSRHNow Children's Radio Foundation #SaveTheChildren

[Photos by Czerina Patel]

Unesco Regional Office for Southern Africa
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Group photo of some following today's UNESCO High Level Policy Dialogue on #comprehensivesexualityeducation hosted by the Department of Basic Education in South Africa ! #ESACommitment #YouthSRHNow #CSENow #sexualityeducation #knowledgeispower

[Photos by Czerina Patel]
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‪#UNESCO Regional Director of #EastAfrica Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta & #Sweden Education Minister Gustav #Fridolin on SAFMNews Channel 404 this morning talking about the urgent need for govts to commit to #comprehensivesexualityeducation #CSE #CSENow #YouthSRHNow‬

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