Girls Empowerment Network (Genet) has tipped girls and young women in Dowa to get sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and restrain from early marriages.
Speaking on Tuesday during a visit to traditional authorities (T/As) Kayembe and Chakhadza, Genet project officer Naomi Nkhonjera said they were impressed by the change in behaviour among young girls in the district.
She said more girls from the two areas now know their right to education.
Said Nkhonjera: “Dowa is one of the districts with high child marriages due to cultural practices.
“So, as Genet, we came up with SRH initiative to sensitise youths on the dangers of getting pregnant while young.”
Nkhonjera also said they encourage the girls to get contraceptives.
“However, we are pleased that chiefs and parents have started using child marriage by-laws after Genet conducted awareness campaign on the importance of eradicating child marriages in the district,” said Nkhonjera.
Kayembe Health Centre medical assistant Jimmy Mkwapatira said the launch the of the SRH Project in 2018, more girls and boys are now accessing SRH services from the facility.
“In the past, youths were not getting contraceptive methods because they felt they would become a laughing stock,” he said.
Memory Noah, who dropped out of school after her parents failed to pay an identity card for her Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) examination, commended Genet for the project.
“Through youth club teachings and discussions, I now know that education should be considered a priority and not marriage,” she said.
Group village head Nkanakufa thanked Genet for considering his area for the project, saying it has helped girls to go back to school.