Chiefs, NGO join hands in ending child marriages

Machinga, August 7, Mana: Chiefs in Machinga district have joined hands with a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Forum for Youth Development (FOYODE) to bring in interventions aimed at ending child marriages in the district.

FOYODE is implementing a project dubbed ‘Spotlight Initiative’ in three Traditional Authorities (TAs) in Machinga namely Ngokwe, Nyambi and Nkoola with funding from United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) global partnership and the project seeks to eliminate violence against women and girls in the district. 

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Senior Chief Ngokwe of Traditional Authority (TA) Ngokwe in Machinga said that cases of child marriage are very high in the district hence local leaders have joined hands with FOYODE in order to address the challenge. 

“Cases of child marriage are very high in Machinga whereby most girls get married at the ages of 13, 14, 15 and 16. 

“For this reason as chiefs, we are working together with FOYODE in addressing the challenge by withdrawing girls from child marriages since we desire the girls in our area to complete their education and they should refrain from getting into early marriages,” Ngokwe said.

Ngokwe: cases of child marriage are very high in Machinga

He said that some cultural norms such as, Chitomelo, Chinamwali as well as poverty are among the major causes of child marriages in the district and efforts are being made to deal with the causes.

Recently, Senior Chief Ngokwe together with FOYODE withdrew a 16-year-old girl from child marriage and has now returned to school in form one after staying in the marriage for three months.

FOYODE Communication Officer, Mike Kalumbi said that his organization envisions empowering youth especially girls and young women with knowledge that would enable them to freely exercise their rights.

“Our vision is to create a world where empowered youth particularly girls and women live peacefully in a just, humane and equitable society, additionally we want girls to complete their education,” he said.

Kalumbi: we want girls to complete their education

Kalumbi said that, the mission of FOYODE is to promote and advocate for the economic, social and emotional well-being of poor and marginalized adolescent girls, youth and women from a poor background.

FOYODE looks to influence positive change in the areas of governance, democracy, gender, human rights, HIV/AIDS and education, according to the Communication Officer.