Evangelical Association of Malawi engages Ntchisi stakeholders in assessing by-laws to help stop child marriages

Evangelical Association of Malawi through Stop Child Marriages project this week brought together authorities including Member of Parliament, faith leaders, chiefs, councillors and government officials to assess newly developed by-laws that would help in the reduction of child marriages in Ntchisi District.

.Chilapondwa: We will make sure to enforce the bylaws
Mlowoko: We wanted their input

Speaking on Monday during the meeting in Mponera, Dowa Evangelical Association of Malawi Head of Programs Bryer Mlowoka said despite that the project bearing fruits in protecting young girls, it was also necessary to develop by-laws that the communities can abide by to make sure that everyone is responsible in protecting a girl child.

“We were developing by-laws that will help in protecting children but then before we give it to technicians; we decided to engage members of parliament, Faith leaders, some government officials, Chiefs and councillors to have their input so that we can have something solid.

“It has been a fruitful meeting where everyone made a contribution on how the bylaws are supposed to look like and technicians will take it from here to put it in a law language so that it can be presented to the government,” he said

Mlowoka said child marriages has a negative impact on girls and boys well-being, saying it deprives them the ability to realize key human rights, including their rights to Health, Education and to be free from physical, mental and sexual violence.

However, he said promoting girl child education and stopping child marriages need a holistic approach with all men and women of influence involved.

Member of Parliament for Ntchisi South, Ulemu Chilapondwa the by-laws that have been made will make the difference considering that they were also given a chance to scrutinize, make collections and improve where necessary.

“By-laws are to do with child marriages, relationships between a girl child and an old, a child marrying another child and responsibilities of parents over their children among others, all these bylaws put together I feel it will help in safeguarding children and a girl child because some of the powers have been given to local leaders and some have been given directly to the courts for ruling whenever such cases arise.

“As members of Parliament our job is to make sure that these bylaws are being enforced because we can have good bylaws but if enforcement is not there, they can be rendered useless,” he said

Chilapondwa further urged girls to refrain from early marriages and focus on education if their lives are to change for good.

“For a girl to be somebody in life she has to go to school, I always believe that, if marriage is put in front of school then school fails but if school is put in front of marriage, marriage will always be there. Education first and those other things will follow,” he said

Ntchisi District Council chairperson Frackson Sefasi thanked Evangelical Association of Malawi for putting the welfare of Ntchisi children at heart and once the whole process is done, councillors will also make sure that the bylaws made are being followed.

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