Senior Chief Chikumbu of Mulanje says she will not relent her efforts to fight child marriages in the district as one way of keeping girls in school and reducing HIV prevalence.
The chief said this on Friday at her headquarters when Christian Aid, a sub- recipient of The Global Fund project through Action Aid, handed over 161 bicycles and 80 sewing machines to mother groups and youth clubs as part of a project it is implementing in the district.
Chikumbu said child marriage is one of the factors escalating HIV prevalence in the district.
She said: “It is appalling to see most young boys and girls getting married. But now we have set by-laws to guide chiefs to end the vice. We are also working with mother groups.”
Christian Aid programmes coordinator Doreen Thom said the K2.7 billion Comprehensive Action to Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) project, which started last year and is expected to end next year, is targeting girls between 10 and 24 years in the district.
“The response is overwhelming; we have registered many successes. A lot of girls are going back to school. We also have tested many girls because the project’s main goal is to reduce HIV prevalence among adolescent girls and young women,” she said.
Apart from Mulanje, the project is also being implemented in Mangochi, Thyolo, Chikwawa and Lilongwe districts.