First Lady Monica Chakwera has tasked stakeholders to stand and protect the girl-child by giving her equal opportunities to education to have a brighter future.
She made the appeal during t h e commemoration of the International Day of a Girl Child held at Mitondo Primary School in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chitekwere in Lilongwe District on Friday.
The First Lady said Malawi’s ranking on number seven on countries with high cases of child marriages was disheartening.
In this regard, Chakwera urged individuals and organisations to be part of the solution to end child marriages and ensure that girls return to school.
She said: “This is a sad development because as a country, we stand
to lose a lot of things if we continue neglecting such issues. I, therefore, urge every Malawian and organisations to play a leading role in curbing child marriages which have denied most of our girls the right to education.
“ I f w e w o r k c o l l a b o r a t i v e l y i n protecting our girls and
ensuring they have access to quality education and then will be able to drop down from number seven to bottom of the list.”
The First Lady said there were several challenges, including poverty, selfish motives, cultural beliefs and hunger that hinder girls from furthering their studies and pursuing their dreams.
Despite the challenges, she appealed to parents a n d g u a r d i a n s t o encourage their children to work hard in school.
Said Chakwera: “My personal commitment in fighting for a girl child comes from my childhood experience. I grew up in a very poor environment,
kilometres to go to school. where I used to walk five
“I could have easily dropped out of school, but my mother supported me throughout the process and here I am today. This is the spirit that all parents need to have.”
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati assured Malawians that her ministry would ensure that it dissolves all child marriages by 2023.
She said government was working hard to ensure that all child marriages identified are dissolved and get the girls back to school.
Kaliati said through the National Strategic Plan of 2018-2023 her ministry was working towards ending child marriages and was positive this will be achieved by 2023.
She said: “We have dissolved over 4 000 marriages and have identified 40 000 early pregnancies and 22 000 early marriages.”
On his part, World Vision Malawi director of programmes Charles Chimombo said the organisation strives to promote the well-being of children and equality for girls.
The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated annually on October 11 since the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 in 2011 to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face around the globe.
T h i s y e a r ’ s commemoration was organised by Wor ld Vision International and the global theme was My Voice, Our Equal Future.