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A safe space and powerful peer support movement helping girls overcome the trauma of sexual abuse & protecting others from becoming victims

Pioneers Of Change

We provide girls with emotional, practical and vocational training which enables them to develop the confidence, self-assurance and skills needed to become economically independent young adults.

In Malawi a devastating 50% of the girls we surveyed and who work in the sex industry are under the age of consent and school-age children. Girls are prevented from going to school, kept as slaves and trafficked into prostitution abroad. Drug and alcohol abuse, violence, sexually transmitted disease and underage pregnancy are highly prevalent.



Our Pioneers of Change community centre is a safe space for girls and young women. The Pioneers Foundation Course is designed to help girls develop their confidence and self worth, and facilitate personal growth. In weekly workshops they learn about their rights, sexual risk-management, physical /sexual health and essential life skills such as decision making, planning, sexual assertiveness, effectiveness etc.

Girls are offered access to healthcare, as well as HIV and STD screening and we provide counselling to girls who have suffered the trauma of abuse (services such as counselling are not widely available in Malawi.)

The Pioneers Support Networks are making the lives of young girls and women in townships around Lilongwe safer.
Now if one of them is threatened often up to 40 girls and women will group together to confront abusers, call in help from police, families and the wider community. Advocacy -their collective presence and pressure- has become a powerful way for girls to keep each other safe.
Thelma Tholani, Pioneers for Change Project Leader


Vulnerable girls often do not recognise abuse or grooming approaches as such, and often blame themselves. They do not know that they have rights or simply don't know where to go and ask for help. At Pioneers of Change girls learn how to recognise inappropriate behaviour, learn what to do when approached and where to find help and how to access support. 

Through sporting events and fellowship activities we enable girls and young women to form strong peer support networks, empowering them to stand up and advocate for each other.

These activities are specifically targeted at supporting those girls who are either engaged in -or are at risk of becoming involved in- child prostitution, girls who have been trafficked, or have been subject to abuse. 



We passionately believe that working with girls and young women is only one side of the coin. In order to create a safer environment for girls and women on the whole, we work closely with families, primary schools, communities, the police, courts and civil society.


We run regular workshops and events in townships in and around Lilongwe, raising awareness about risks of sexual abuse, trafficking and child marriage, as well as girl's and women's rights, aiming to change mindsets and establishing respect for girls & women in society.

Pioneers of Change is a growing movement with more and more girls and communities getting involved all the time.


After having completed the Foundation programme girls can move on to the Enterprise Course which prepares them for economic independence.

Girls are supported to explore and develop ideas which will enable them to generate income and are taught vocational skills with a range of choices. On completion of this programme each young woman receives a complete start-up kit, including a finance plan, for her business.

Younger girls are supported back into primary education.


Since 2016 we have rescued 648 girls from trafficking.


775 girls have successfully completed the Pioneers of Change Enterprise programme.

Our anti-trafficking, sexual health and girl's rights campaigns, community initiatives and workshops have reached over 3865 family and community members.


By the time a girl/young woman has completed the Pioneers of Change programme she will be more confident, be well informed and part of a strong support network. Some, particularly those with children of their own, will become  economically independent, often even able to support her wider family.


The outstanding work of our Pioneers of Change team was recognised in December 2019 with an AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE issued by the Ministry of Homeland Security and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Alternative To Custody



A highly successful rehabilitation centre and powerful learning environment for children and young men turning prison sentences into an powerful, inspiring & life-changing learning experience and foundation for a successful future 

Access Justice changes the trajectory of young boys' and men's lives - from crime and hopelessness to becoming confident, successful and inspiring young leaders in their communities.

Prison life is extremely difficult in Malawi. Children and young men routinely serve custodial sentences in under-resourced and overcrowded prisons, where conditions such as lack of adequate sanitation, overcrowding, poor nutrition and risk of diseases such as HIV can be commonplace. Children in adult prisons are particularly at risk.

Establishing wellbeing and

learning interpersonal & vocational skills

At arrival at our residential centre in Lilongwe we assess each boy's specific needs in terms of their emotional, psycho-social and physical wellbeing and identify specific areas for learning for each individual.

Boys and young men also receive (often for the first time) access to quality healthcare, as well screening for communicable diseases and STIs such as HIV. We provide healthy nutrition and a therapeutic diet where necessary, as well as opportunities for physical exercise, sexual, emotional, physical health education and counselling.


We enable young boys and men to reflect on and understand the behaviours that have led them into crime. Through Cognitive Behavioural training they learn how to make positive and effective choices, and our Advantaged Thinking approach enables them to use their talents and abilities to the best effects.

In addition programme participants receive education and training in a vocation of their choice. Focus is placed on experiential learning to ensure long-term retention.

Towards the end of their programme, participants take part in enterprise training to focus their specific business idea. They receive a complete tool kit for their business and leave with a concrete income generation plan.


By the time they return to their communities they have acquired the skills needed to live successful and productive lives free from offending.



​Due to stigma families and communities are often reluctant to accept young offenders back into their communities.

The Chance For Change Reintegration Team mediates between families, communities, victims and participants to ensure successful reintegration. We help communities to recognise that the young man who returns to them is a different person with new skills who has much to offer.

We follow up on each young person's progress within their communities, ensuring they have settled and provide continued support if needed.





Awareness campaigns and advocacy have reached 10,126 people.


6,040 have been indirect beneficiaries in families and communities.

Since 2012 our legal team has enabled 242 children to avoid time in prison.


941 Participants have taken part in Criminal Justice Programme. 555 have successfully trained in enterprise.

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