In a bid to promote girls education in the country, the Unite for Body Rights also known as Malawi Alliance on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Dedza district has seen 20 young girls withdrawn from early marriages and re-enrolled in schools.
This was disclosed on Saturday during a 7 day media tour organized by the Malawi Alliance on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights with funding from Netherlands through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
SRHR is working with five local organizations in an alliance namely: Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (CAVWOC), Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM), Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO), Centre For Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Empowerment and Civic Education ( YECE).
YECE is the organization responsible in withdrawing the 20 young girls from marriages and re-enrolled in schools at Bembeke.
During the media tour, YECE Project Co-ordinator Prisca Chakholoma said they were able to withdraw from marriages 20 girls at Kamgulitse Village, T/A Kamenyagwaza which is in their impact area.
Chakholoma said most of these girls will be en-rolled at Bembeke Community Day Secondary School and expected to go back to school in September.
She said this is one of their achievements and states that they were happy that included empowering women who have been able to participate in developmental committees at village and area levels.
The project Officer Maxwel Mawere also said this program was successful because of the bylaws which were drafted by chiefs to fine any parent forcing a girl or boy to marry while still young.
“These bylaws are working and helping our children especially girls to get education. Many people are afraid of breaking them because they fear the consequences as they feel the penalties are too high that they cannot afford,”said Mawere.
One of the girls, who was withdrawn from marriage is a 20 year old girl, Felista Katsekaminga, who dropped out of school in 2012.
Felista, who was in from 1 at Bembeke Community Day Secondary School lasted for 10 months in marriage before being withdrawn with the help of YECE.
“Iam so delighted that now l will go back to school in September. It is not easy in marriage while you’re young,” she said.
Seleviano Chiwoko, is another beneficiary of the programme. She was rescued from her marriage and is expected to be taken back to school at Bembeke CDSS.
“It happened after my friend who already found herself a husband convinced me into marriage. She told me it would be better if l got married like her, so that my husband could take care of my need. But I regretted what l did-Now lam happy that l continue with education,” she said.
Florence Kankhuti, a parent from the community said; “We are happy that these bylaws have been put in place by our traditional leaders to ensure that our girls get education.”
National Program Coordinator Talimba Bandawe said the program project which is a five year is to increase utilization and quality of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services.
The second object is to increase quality and delivery of comprehensive sexuality Education and also to reduction of sexual Gender Based Violence.
She also said the last object is to increase acceptance of sexual diversity and gender identity.
“The target group for the program are young people aged 10-24, women within the reproductive age group as well as marginalized groups,” she said.
The Malawi SRHR partners have been implementing the UFBR program since 2011 in the three targeted districts of Chikwawa, Dedza and Mangochi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :