Director of Information Chikumbutso Mtumodzi has challenged faith leaders to own the fight against child marriages.
He made the sentiments during the official opening of a Message Development Workshop on Ending Child Marriages at Mponela in Dowa on Wednesday.
“Child marriages have not spared any region in Malawi. At times parents and guardians force young people into marriages for economic gains.
“We need to stop this as faith-based actors and communication stakeholders,” said Mtumodzi.
He said he was aware that some people were hiding behind the economic downturn in terms of household income brought about by COVID-19.
To that end, he urged the participants to develop powerful messages that address situations that Malawi as a country and the world at large are grappling with.
“We should be able to link COVID-19 and child marriages in our messaging,” he emphasised.
The workshop has been organised under a Nationwide Multimedia Campaign with faith based actors to end child marriages.
It brought together seven faith leaders, district information officers and members of district social mobilization committees from Neno, Machinga and Nkhata Bay districts.
Coordinator for Communication for Development (C4D), Wallace Chipeta said the multimedia approach utilises multiple channels to reach to thousands of people and help address barriers to behaviour change.
“So these key messages developed here which are also looking at the socio-cultural context and underlying forces thereof, will be converted into information, education and communication materials like radio and television jingles, video documentaries and posters, just to mention a few,” said Chipeta.
He said the trainings will extend to such hotspot districts as Kasungu, Mangochi, Blantyre and Chikwawa where issues of child marriages are on the rise.
One of the participants, Sheik Yunus Issa of Nkhata Bay said the workshop was an eye opener.
“We might have been taking child marriages for granted but now we know child marriages are an evil that we should uproot at all costs.
“In fact, child marriages are the worst form of gender based violence as it, not only kills the future of these children, but also endangers their lives through childbirth as their bodies aren’t ready for child bearing. In addition, it contributes to poverty,” he said.
The workshop was funded by UNICEF through National Social Mobilisation Committee whose Secretariat is the Ministry of Information.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :