Children from Mzimba South have asked authorities in the district to end child marriages, teen pregnancies, rape and defilement which they described as leading causes of school drop-outs.
The call came at the end of the First Children’s Parliament held in the district on Friday.
Speaker of the First Children’s Parliament Rachel Ngulube said harmful cultural practices lead to early marriages.
“Some parents marry off their children to receive dowry to end their poverty,” she said.
However, Ngulube said she was hopeful government and other stakeholders will act on the issues discussed during the session.
In an interview, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kampingo Sibande confirmed that early marriages are rampant in the district.
“We have since enacted by-laws banning child marriages and other harmful cultural practices that lead to school drop-outs. We have also banned parents or guardians from receiving dowry for child marriages,” he said.
Save the Children country director Kim Koch said the parliament gave the children a platform to voice out their concerns.
She further said her organisation will push for all duty-bearers to take up the issues the children raised and act on them.
Director for child affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare McKnight Kalanda said the issues discussed by the children will be taken to the National Assembly.