Plan Malawi and Focus in Child, Not bride Project

Plan Malawi Inter1 in partnership with Foundation for Community Support Service (Focus) will soon embark on a Child, Not a Bride Project in Karonga.

Speaking on Tuesday in an interview with MANA, the project manager, Macdonald Mumba said the project intends to contribute towards the reduction in child marriages and teenage pregnancies thereby promoting girls’ education attainment in the district.

Mumba said it is pathetic that despite several interventions to curb the malpractices by government and Non-governmental organizations there is still persistent high levels of child marriages across the country.

“From the assessment which we conducted, the latest survey indicates that 38 percent of girls below the age of 18 get married and drop out of school and these figures rose especially during the Covid-19 period when schools were temporarily closed from March to June 2020.

For instance, in the northern region, Mzimba was on the top with 1,878 child marriages and teenage pregnancies seconded by Nkhatabay with 1,248 and Karonga on third with 760,” Mumba said.

Baka Primary School in Karonga. Learners like these need protection- Pic by Andrew Mkonda-Mana

He said among others, the project will empower teachers, school committees, and mother groups on ways of keeping girls in school.

“The project will also construct girl’s hostels and provide scholarship and bursaries to learners in the area of Traditional Authority Mwirang’ombe and Paramount Chief Kyungu in the district,” he said.

Director of Education, Youth and Sports for Karonga District Council, Sarah Jere thanked Plan Malawi Inter1 for the initiative saying it will assist in motivating girls to remain in school.

“I am happy with the name of the project because men consider girl children as their wives. So this project is sending a strong message that girls are there to make their future through their education,” Jere said.

The four-year project is expected to be implemented in Mzimba, Nkhata-bay and Karonga with financial support from Norwegian Broadcast Corporation through Plan Norwegian 1 Office and Plan Malawi Inter1.