Traditional Authorities (T/As) Mponda and Nankumba in Mangochi together with their Group Village Headmen (GVHs) have said they will remain united in the fight against child marriages to ensure that the girl child is educated.
The chiefs made the pledge on Wednesday in Mangochi after a two-day long training workshop organized by the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) where they discussed the effects of child marriages.
Speaking on behalf of the chiefs, Traditional Authority Mponda said they now understand the importance of educating children especially the girl child and promise to change the situation.
“Before CHRR came to our communities, parents could just marry off their children anyhow in exchange for money or anything they deemed it would help them to escape from the pangs of poverty, but with the
intervention of CHRR, we are now aware of the merits of investing in girl-child education,” said the chief.
“When we get back to our communities, and of course with the respect we command from people, we promise to use any available means such as the forming by-laws to chase the social curse of child marriages,” said the chief.
In her remarks, CHRR Civic Education Coordinator, Thandizo Mphwiyo, said child marriages robs of children future and has devastating effects.
“Child marriages undermine children’s rights to education and a girl child who gets into marriage is more likely to be abused by her husband and in-laws as well as being reduced to domestic slavery,” said Mphwiyo.
She said it is against this background that her organization decided to implement a one year Unite Against Child Marriages project aims at protecting children, especially the girl-child.
“Apart from doing a number of things such as role modelling, awareness campaigns and engaging mother groups, we are also involving chiefs considering that chiefs play a crucial role in putting to a halt some
of the social ills that happen in their communities,” observed Mphwiyo.
Speaking at the same function, Mangochi District Social Welfare Officer, Macleod Mphande hailed CHRR for implementing the programme in the district, saying it would help to end child-marriages.