Girls in Malawi’s northern border district of Karonga are pushing government authorities to enact laws restricting men from drinking from dawn to dusk as a measure to make them responsible in their families.
The girls said this at a meeting by Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) under Learn Without Fear project where it was noted that most girls drop out from school due to lack of tuition fees due to irresponsible parenting by drunkard fathers.
Speaking during the meeting at Group Village Headman Mwahimba one of the girls Salayi Mboye complained most of men fail to send their children especially girls to secondary schools because they prioritize drinking beer instead of paying fees when their children reach secondary level.
“Most girls here at Mwahimba get married when they just finish standard eight because education in primary is free but when we pass to go to secondary schools our fathers left the responsibility of paying school fees in the hands of our mothers only and the mother fail to manage to provide the fees hence we are forced to get married,” said Mboye.
Another girl Esky Fongo concured with Mboye saying men in their village leave the responsibility of taking care of children in women’s hand as most of them drink beer.
“We really have that problem here in Karonga. Most men take beer starting from morning untill mid night forgetting that they have children to look after,” said Fongo.
Group Village Headman Mwahimba agreed that girls in his area get married at tender age.
“It is true that early marriage is a biggest challenge in my area because most of them marry when they just finish their primary school education largely because some parents don’t take the responsibility of sending their girl child to school and some have bad behavior of leaving the whole responsibility in a woman’s hand,” he said.
The CHRR coordinator of Karonga and Chitipa Stain Katuli described the development as child abuse saying parents have the responsibility to take care of their children.
“Government intervention on these issues can be of great help but we also have a project that train chiefs on how they can report these cases to any human rights organization or to police as away of empowering them to exercise their rights to ensure that issues of abuse such as early marriage ends in their areas.”