Mangochi District Council on Wednesday unanimously endorsed a bylaw aimed at protecting adolescent girls and young women in the district from hindrances that stand between them and their education.
A full council meeting held at Mangochi Town Council endorsed the bylaw which has been developed with support from World Vision.
The establishment of the bylaw is a component of World Vision’s MK2.5 billion Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) project implemented in the district’s seven Traditional Authorities of Chowe, Jalasi, Chimwala, Nankumba, Mponda, Bwananyambi and Chilipa from January 2017 – December 2017.
According to World Vision AGYW Manager, Nellie Galeta, the bylaw was put together by the target traditional authorities and community structures with the aim of promoting sexual and reproductive health, enrolment and retention in schools and protection of adolescent girls and young women both in and out of school.
“The bylaw focuses on issues of economic exploitation, trafficking, harmful social and cultural practices that affect girls and young women, and all matters that hinder girl child’s attainment of education,” Galeta said.
She added: “The bylaw was already there in all the TAs under the project and what we did was to bring them together, consolidate and fine tune them so that they become uniform across the district and to also align them with the laws of Malawi before presenting them for final adoption.”
Galeta said Mangochi was one of the districts in Malawi where adolescent girls and young women faced a number of challenges like HIV and AIDS, high school dropout rate, teenage pregnancies and early marriages, and gender-based violence.
She said there is hope that with successful implementation of the bylaw, the district would achieve the anticipated protection of adolescent girls and young women.
Mangochi District Commissioner (DC) Reverend Moses Chimphepo, hailed the council for unanimously endorsing the bylaws describing girl child education as a serious challenge in Mangochi.
“I’m happy that the members of the council have approved the bylaw which will protect a girl child in the district.” said Chimphepo.
He added that there is need to publicize the document for people to look at it and make their comments before submitting it to the Minister of Local Government and Rural development for his approval.
TA Bwananyambi also hailed the endorsement of the bylaw, the process she said was long overdue.
“I am happy because I am always concerned about issues of a girl child. In my area, we have managed to implement some of the principles even before the adoption of this bylaw,” said Bwananyambi.
Among other areas, the 16-section by-law restricts adolescents and all girls under the age 18 from patronizing video halls, bars and any place where illicit beer and any illicit drugs are sold and it also bars them from consumption of the same.
Various penalties are also set for parents, guardians, and traditional leaders who in, one way or the other, contribute to any hindrance of the adolescents’ and young women’s attainment of education, while anybody found impregnating a girl under the age 18 shall be reported to police for prosecution.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :