UNFPA unleashes Nthambi cartoon today

The United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency has released an animated series personifying agonies of Malawian girls carrying a baby before the marriageable age.

UNFPA resident representative Won Young Hong will today unveil the character, christened Nthambi, in time for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) slated for November 12 to 14 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Nthambi in one of the scenes in the animated series

This is part of the global campaign to ensure every girl learns.

However, half of girls in Malawi marry before their 18th birthday—with 29 percent of adolescents carrying teen pregnancy and 30 percent of maternal death occurring among their peers.

According to Wong, Nthambi’s character is a product of extensive research and the storyline will be informed by UNFPA’s vast experience in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“Her voice represents the aspiration of many girls who don’t have the platform to either enjoy or demand their sexual reproductive rights,” she said.

Nthambi hears about the global conference during a village meeting. Although she does not know what it is all about, she takes a bus to Nairobi having overheard her peers saying they will go there to discuss the challenges that affect them.

She is driven by zeal to ensure the youth are at table when their matters are being tabled. On the way, she meets friends who expose her to the harsh realities faced by the Malawian girls and women.

“The chance meetings with different characters will shape her understanding on areas such as sexual reproductive health, HIV and Aids and education,” says Young.

“Our hope is that through the journey of Nthambi, her friends and our audience will also learn a wide range of issues, challenges and barriers related to sexual and reproductive health and rights adolescent girls and women face every day in Malawi.”

What’s more exciting, the animated series has room for feedback from its audience to shape the script as it projects aspirations of the youth for policymakers to eliminate barriers that often exclude boys and girls from achieving their potential.

The 2018 Population and Housing Census shows that girls lag behind on literacy as only 35.8 percent of them transition to secondary school compared to 40.9 percent for boys.

The series will run on UNFPA Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube channel from today up to the end of the ICPD conference in Kenya.

Every week, UNFPA will release a three-part series based on a specific theme.

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