Traditional Authority Chimutu’s area in Lilongwe district has registered a reduction in the number of teenage pregnancies and early marriages in the past year, a situation which has been attributed to increased sensitisation and awareness campaigns among young people.
Lobina Mdifwa, a counsellor from Malemia Village in the area, said on Friday during a meeting between the youth, traditional and religious leaders in the area that in the seven villages that she works as a counsellor, no girl has dropped out of school due to pregnancy in the past year.
She described this as an achievement since eight girls fell pregnant and dropped out of school in 2014 alone.
Mdifwa said traditional and religious leaders, counsellors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the area have intensified their efforts in sensitising the youth and girls in particular, on the need to focus on their studies.
“We have managed to put to an end some cultural practices which were putting the youth at risk of getting HIV and early pregnancies such as conducting traditional dances during the night and forcing young girls into marriages,” Mdifwa said.
Pastor Frank Kesinala of Mchezi Anglican Church in the area hailed the Centre for Youth Development and Social Empowerment (CYDSE), a local NGO working in the area for being instrumental in the awareness campaigns.
“The various interventions initiated by CYDSE have helped a lot as we can now see the results,” he said.
CYDSE Executive Director, Nephtale Chizongo said with funding from the Southern African Aids Trust (SAAT), his organisation is carrying out a number of activities aimed at promoting and protecting the lives of young people in the area.
According to Chizongo, about 60 percent of the population in T/A Chimutu’s area is made up of youths. n