Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati has urged traditional leaders in Chitipa to terminate child marriages.
The minister said this during her tour of Chitipa and Karonga districts on Thursday and Friday.
Speaking in Chitipa during a meeting with traditional leaders, Kaliati said chiefs have responsibility to protect children from child marriages.
“Government wants educated people who can make informed decisions and support themselves economically; hence, education is key to achieving this,” she said.
Kaliati also said her ministry is ready to support women and children who face any form of abuse by providing them with lawyers for court lawsuits.
The meeting followed reports that Chitipa has registered 269 child marriages with 37 teen pregnancies since the closure of schools in March.
In his remarks, Chitipa District Council director of administration John Baluti said Traditional Authority (T/A) Nthalire is the most affected area with 80 child marriages followed by T/A Mwenewenya with 63 cases.
He said some traditional leaders have terminated nine marriages.
On social cash transfer programme, Kaliati urged women in Karonga to venture into small-scale businesses.
In his remarks, Paramount Chief Kyungu said the programme was helping families to access social basic amenities.
The chief asked beneficiaries to use the money wisely, including paying school fund for their children.
Tumpale Mwahimba, a mother of six, said the social cash transfer programme has helped her to build a better house.
Karonga has 7 484 social cash transfer beneficiaries.