Former first lady Callista Muthalika has urged religious, traditional leaders and parliamentarians in Africa to strategize on the way to end child marriages in the region.
She was speaking in Ethiopia during capacity building workshop for religious, traditional leaders and parliamentarians on ending child marriages in Africa in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.
She said as leaders, they should play a role of popularizing instruments such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) at community level to combat child marriage and resist the attitude that does not value the girl child.
“Let African women leaders develop various strategies to ending Child marriages as this could help Africa now as it embarks on a journey to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals”said Mutharika
According to Mutharika Members of Parliament, traditional and religious leaders have roles and responsibilities to fulfill as they serve our electorates and people that have made them who what they are today.
She also urged Members of Parliament review the services available to girls, reinforce, and strengthen them.
“Keeping girls in school till the last level,establishing youth-friendly health services, introducing sexual reproductive health care for young people, just to mention a few, is our mandate as Young girls and not brides constitute a part of those who elects us”.
She however pointed out that before other development partners come into our communities to change norms, it is the duty of local leaders to assess the norms and raise awareness of girls’ rights and the impact of child marriage.
Muthalika said: “Let us help change attitudes and behaviours around the value of girls and women, consider the economic and structural drivers that act as a barrier to ending child marriage”.