Lilongwe, September 29, Mana: Chiefs in Traditional Authority (TA) Chimutu in Lilongwe have called for concerted efforts from Government as well as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in fighting against drug and alcohol abuse saying it is one aspect that is stimulating child marriages in the communities.
Despite Government and NGOs interventions influencing ending child marriages in the country, Chiefs in TA Chimutu have called for more collaborative efforts from government and other stakeholders to rally round in fighting against drug and alcohol abuse saying it is influencing children to early marriages.
Apart from poverty, lack of role models, unemployment as well as gule wamkulu among others, excessive use of drugs and alcohol substance abuse has been one of the major factors that is leading young people in TA Chimutu to sway into child marriages.
In an interview, with Malawi News Agency (MANA), Group Village Headwoman Simion of TA Chimutu expressed worry that youths are exposing shocking manners like being involved in sexual activities under the influence of drug and alcohol substances saying the trend is also pressurizing them to go into early marriages.
“We want Government as well as other well-wishers to come in with other interventions that would deal with drug and alcohol. Young people are exposing strange behaviours that are leading them to early marriages.
“We need joint efforts that would refrain them from alcohol and drug abuse so that we can rescue them from early marriages.” Simion explained.
Drug fight Malawi Executive Director, Nelson Baziwelo Zakeyu narrates that it is a worrisome development as Drug fight Malawi has been championing the control of alcohol and substance abuse since its inception in 2006, as no much transformation has been done.
He said there are a number of factors hindering interventions against control of drug and alcohol saying the control seems not to be one of government priorities.
“Government has been very inactive as far as drug abuse control is concerned. The absence of National Drug Control Policy in the country has continued to make us find difficult in lining our drug control intervention with plans of the government,” Zakeyu narrates.
According to Zakeyu, 60% of young people in the country consume alcohol and substance abuse describing the situation as worrisome.
He said youths as young as 12 years old are having a habit of consuming alcohol and drugs describing the situation as grave which does not only destroy their future but also the country’s development.
“Despite working hard to deter young people from alcohol and drug use, not much has been transformed due to limited finances that would have enabled us to reach out to as many youths as possible,” Zakeyu stated.
Network for Youth Development (NFYD) has been one of the NGO’s that is working in championing Girls Get Equal Project (Zotheka) towards social means that is helping in reducing child marriages in the area.