Malawian Secondary School Prevention Program on HIV/AIDS: An examination of youth’s perceptions of assertiveness, a component of Life Skills Education for overcoming the problem.

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Samdani Fakir


This study sought to understand youths’ perception of assertiveness, which is a component of Life Skills Education, one of secondary school-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs in Malawi. It used Mchisu Community Day Secondary School in Dedza district as a case study. To be “assertive” means to pursue one’s goals or to state with assurance and selfconfidence (An HIV/AIDS Sourcebook for Secondary Teachers, 2004). The study was done qualitatively with the use of questionnaires, gender specific focus group discussion and in-depth interviews. The study revealed that young people view assertiveness as a very important skill in the preventing the spread of HIV infection in that it has helped them change their sexual behaviour and are able to make productive personal life goals. They also face some barriers which could hinder them from being completely assertive such as peer pressure, lack of socioeconomic support, culture, ignorance, and lack of multidisciplinary approach in planning and implementing the program. Lesson learned from this study could have an impact on similar HIV/AIDS programs running in other schools in the country. Therefore, practical suggestions and areas for further research have been identified such as replicating the study in other Malawian Secondary Schools and scaling up the program to all schools in Malawi. For the program to have sustainable impact on these youths, recommendations have been made such as orienting all teachers to assertiveness for them to appreciate its importance in HIV prevention, using a multidisciplinary approach when implementing assertiveness programs in others schools and involving all stakeholders when coming up with programs affecting young people for the sake of sustainability.


International Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion

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