Community leaders around Ngana and Ngisi in Senior Chief Mwakaboko in Karonga have blamed the rise in gender-based violence (GBV) cases on long distance to school.
Group village head Mwanjabala said this on Saturday at Ngisi during an awareness campaign on GBV organised by Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM).
He said: “Girls from Ngisi travel about 18 kilometres [km] to Iponga Community Day Secondary School while those from Ngana travel about 24km to the same school.
“We want authorities to construct a secondary school between Ngisi and Ngana to cut the distance to school.”
Jonathan Mwangonde, a community member, said men take advantage of the girls on the way to school.
He said: “Travelling such a long distance to school exposes the girls to men who coax them into relationships.
“In the end, they become pregnant and drop out of school.”
However, Ngisi Mother Group chairperson Ireen Mbotwa said they have withdrawn six girls from early marriages.
Karonga District EAM project coordinator Dumisani Nungu pledged to facilitate a meeting between authorities and community leaders to find solutions to eradicate GBV in the area.
The organisation is implementing Timazge Nkhanza Project in traditional authorities Mwakaboko, Kilupula and Kyungu with funding from Norwegian Church Aid and Danish Church Aid.