Lilongwe, September 19, Mana: Network for Youth Development (NfYD) under Girls Get Equal Project (Zotheka) has managed to influence ending child marriages in some districts of the country including Lilongwe.
NfYD Project Officer, Sekanawo Mwatibu disclosed this Saturday during a Village Leaders Committee meeting held in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Chimutu Lilongwe,
She said through the intervention her organization was using, they have managed to influence communities to end child marriages in some parts of the country including TA Chimutu in Lilongwe.
“We are working this Girls Get Equal Zotheka Project with local leaders towards social means that influence child marriages. We are hoping that our intervention under this project, we will be able to reduce child marriages,” Mwatibu said.
The Project Officer added that the meeting was organized to give room for NfYD and traditional leaders to share experiences on how the chiefs have been handling child marriage cases as well as social norms that drive children into early marriages.
“The child marriages are going very bad, there are some factors that are prompting young people to child marriages for instance issue of poverty, inadequate support from parents, lack of role models, unemployment as well as Gule wamkulu.”
“But with our interventions, we have a lot to do, so that we will be able to reduce the trend,” she said.
Despite the challenges, Mwatibu said there was quite a big progress saying some traditional leaders have tremendously worked so hard in ending the trend.
She added that there are some Village Heads who were demoted because they were engaged in sexual affairs with minors.
“We feel like making a progress because a lot of children have gone back to school, some dropped out of school because of other reasons, but with our interventions they have gone back to school, and we are also giving them scholarship programs by providing them with school uniforms to those that are needy including school development funds,” the officer explained.
Senior Group Village Headman (SGVH) Mwadenje asked NfYD to scale up their support in order to uplift young people in the communities so that they are rescued from early marriages as well as defilement so that they become better citizens of the country.
“We are not saying that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) have failed, but we are seeing that there are a high percentage of young people who are stranded doing nothing due to high unemployment levels.”
“We want to encourage NGO’s to be our watchdogs, wherever things are not going well, they should voice out the voice of the voiceless and people should be heard and as well as act accordingly,” he said.
NfYD is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) working in some parts of the country and is working in collaboration with other six partners namely Timveni, CRECCOM, CARD, CAVWOC as well as Plan International among others, each working in its own sector including ending child marriages.
Girls Get Equal Project (Zotheka) is a five-year programme that is being implemented in some districts like Lilongwe, Mulanje and Phalombe.