Mulanje District Council on Thursday commemorated International Day of the Girl Child, an event that provided a platform to raise awareness on ending child marriages.
The council hosted the event in partnership with Plan Malawi, Network for Youth Development, Girls Empowerment Network, Christian Aid and Malawi Red Cross Society.
Speaking at Mathambi Primary School ground in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mabuka, the council’s chairperson Richard Chikhwakhwa said child marriages is a big challenge in the district and the coming in of Covid-19 has worsened the situation.
He said despite the district having many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that work towards ending child marriages, many of them implement their programmes without consultations with the council and traditional leaders.
He said: “We have many NGOs working here in Mulanje. However, they do not come to the council for us to discuss with the targeted traditional leaders and see how best we can reach out to the communities.
“This is stifling all the efforts put into ending child marriages.”
On her part, Chisomo Kastomu, a Standard Five learner at Chimwaza Primary School, said girls face many challenges that make them vulnerable to child marriages.
“These challenges include defilement, forced marriages, child labour and being denied to return to school after giving birth,” she said. Network for Youth Development programmes manager Lidace Nyirenda said the organisation will ensure that child marriages are a thing of the past in all the four T/As it is implementing various projects in the district.