Malawi NGOs gang up against child marriages

Seven non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across the country have come together to fight child marriages, Nyasa Times has learnt.

Led by the Centre for Youth and Children Affairs (CEYCA), the seven held a three-day meeting in Mponela, Dowa, where they developed information, education and communication messages with which to use in advocacy  for anti-child marriage.

Executive director at Ceyca, Rodgers Newa, told the gathering which included community representatives from the NGOs’ grassroots catchment areas, that  it was imperative that they work hard to incarnate messages that will deter people from forcing,  cheating and coercing young people into marriages.

Newa: Children rights

“We know a lot of cultures and beliefs that lead to child marriages. These must be stopped or changed for the benefit of our children,” Newa said.

“We believe in the CRC which states that a child shall be the one below the age of 18, although Malawi’s laws say a child can be married at the age of 16. These messages must be developed with the audience in mind,” added the activist.

“This is why we have grassroots representatives here to say for themselves what they feel should be messages for impact,” he said during the official opening of the three day workshop funded by HIVOS through IDM Consulting.

Consultant Hope Musukwa, who is conducting the training, said messages must not be developed from the desk of programmes officers alone, but that there should be an input from the target audience.

“Messages should be tailored to suit audiences’ specific needs and interventions for expected impact to be realised and for easy measurability,” said Musukwa consulting under Lilongwe-based Nyasa
Anzeni Media (NAMEDiA).

Participants to the workshop included traditional leaders, community workers drawn from partnerships of CEYCA,YONECO, CYDSE, MASUNA, KASO, FCR, and WILSA under the Child Marriage Programme.

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