United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth and Sports have joined efforts to end child marriages and teenage pregnancies in Dedza and Mchinji districts.
Through a four-year Action for Adolescent Girls and Teen Mothers Project, UNFPA and the ministry will, among others, empower girls to make informed decisions about their rights as well as the universal access to integrated and youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services.
Speaking on Wednesday during a quarterly review of the project in Dedza, UNFPA Country Representative, Won Young Hong, observed that poverty remains the main driver of the teenage pregnancies and early marriages in Malawi.
“Poverty has negatively affected the education opportunity for young people in communities especially a girl child who become mothers at a very early stage,” said Hong.
She added that Covid-19 pandemic has also contributed to early marriages and teenage pregnancies among girls.
Together with other partners in the project, she said, they will continue to engage girls to make informed decisions that will help them pursue their vision in life.
Principal Secretary for Youth and Sports, Oliver Kumbambe, said teenage pregnancies and early marriages are a big problem in the country.
“We are finding ways to assist youths especially a girl child to prepare for her future,” he said.
A 22-year-old Sophina Mophat, who dropped out of school while in Form Three, said she realized the importance of education and has since returned to school.
“I want to finish my education and become a journalist in few years to come,” she said.