Group village head Namalaka in Traditional Authority (T/A) Namavi in Mangochi says combined efforts of chiefs, religious leaders and non-governmental organisations are key to ending child marriages in the country.
The chief said this on Thursday during a Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco) tour that sought to establish the challenges communities are facing in the implementation of the organisation’s More Than Brides Project.
“Since the inception of the project in 2017, we have rescued many children from marriages and the majority of them are back in school,” Namalaka said.
One of the girls withdrawn from marriages said poverty and lack of role models are some of the factors fuelling child marriages in the district.
She said at the age of 15, while in Standard Five, she was living with her grandmother who could not afford to support her education and provide other basic needs.
“When a man promised to marry me, I accepted and dropped out of school. He bought me a smartphone. Unfortunately, when I became pregnant, he left for South Africa and has never come back,” she said.
Yoneco executive director Mc Bain Mkandawire described Mangochi chiefs’ action as crucial for young girls’ future.Yoneco is implementing the project with support from Simavi. n