Community leaders around Ngisi in Senior Chief Mwakaboko in Karonga have asked duty-bearers to construct a secondary school in the area.
Group village head Mwandambo made the call on Saturday during a group discussion Evangelical Association of Malawi organised for community leaders to establish causes of gender-based violence (GBV) against women and girls.
Mwandambo said long distance to school led to high dropout among girls as they travel about 18 kilometres to the nearest secondary school.
“As a result, the girls go into early marriages at a tender age while others are trafficked to the neighbouring Tanzania for sex,” he said.
The chief also attributed GBV cases to shortage of teachers in schools.
“For example, there are two teachers at Ngisi Primary School who do not manage to teach all eight classes in a day,” said Mwandambo.
Ngisi Women Forum chairperson Aidah Mbotwa said that in September alone the area lost 10 girls and boys to early marriages while four were trafficked to Tanzania.
But Karonga District director of education, youth and sports Sarah Khozi Jere shifted the blame to the community, saying they should initiate plans for the construction of community day secondary schools.
On the shortage of teachers, KhoziJere attributed the situation to low enrollment rate at the school.
“We have to raise awareness so that parents send as many pupils to schools as possible to enable my office to lobby for more teachers,” she said.
Evangelical Association of Malawi monitoring, evaluation, research and learning officer Henry Mwalwanda said they are working with community leaders to provide psychosocial support to GBV victims.
“This is a continuation of a project which supported about 185 girls in 15 secondary schools in the district,” he said.