NGOGCN calls for elimination of child marriages in Chikhwawa

Adolescent girl leaders advocating for the end of child marriage in Malawi. Photograph: GENET Malawi

Adolescent girl leaders advocating for the end of child marriage in Malawi. Photograph: GENET Malawi

The Non-Governmental Gender Coordination Network (NGOGCN) has appealed to all stakeholders and duty bearers in Chikhwawa to initiate efforts which can ultimately eradicate child marriages in the district.

NGOGCN Executive Member, Maxwell Matewere said Gender-Based Violence’s (GBVs) in most families are also a result of child marriages among the married couples a he said this happens because of immaturity as well as high illiteracy levels.

Matewere observed this during Chikhwawa district child rights stakeholders meeting which drew together duty bearers and traditional leaders to sensitize parents and guardians to reduce child marriages in the district.

He said child marriages possess a lot of dangers especially girls who are at risk of suffering fistula and maternal related diseases during pregnancy delivery.

“Marriage is the same like a contract between a man and a woman to live together. In Malawi the law allows a person of 18 years and above to sign a contract. Therefore, I am appealing to parents and guardians not to allow their children’s to get married earlier, ” said Matewere who is also Executive Director of Eye of the Child.

He assured the traditional leaders and Chikhwawa district stakeholders that NGOGCN together with Eye of the Child is committed to reduce child marriages which are on increase in the district.

“I am appealing for the collaborative efforts from Civil Society Organization, traditional and faith-based leaders and urged members of media to expose the culprits of child marriages to promote fundamental human rights of children in the country,” he said.

In his remarks Paramount Chief Lundu of Chikhwawa said child marriages are on the increase in the district as a result of some cultural practices and high level of poverty in many families.

“It is my hope that the police, judiciary, social welfare office and my fellow traditional leaders will work together to help government in abolishing child marriages in the country,” said Paramount Chief Lundu.

He said there is a need to amend Malawian constitution for it to properly define who is entitled to enter into marriage.

According to the results of research that was conducted by International Centre for Research on Women, Malawi is ranked on position 17 on the list of top 20 countries with highest rates of child marriages.

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