World Vision Malawi (WVM) says about 245 children were married in Mzimba last year, a situation which has put at stake their future, health and education.
WVM director of programmes Charles Chimombo made the revelation in Mzimba on Saturday during the launch of the ‘It Takes Malawi to End Child Marriage’ campaign for the Northern Region.
He described the figure as “huge”, saying in Malawi, one in every three girls are married before the age of 18.
“Child marriage is a catastrophe. It is a hidden epidemic. If it is not well responded to, it will lead to serious issues that jeorpadise girls’ future, survival, health and education,” he said.
Chimombo said his organisation is concerned that despite all efforts to improve education in the country, child marriages prevail.
Mzimba South district education manager Funwell Chiwowa said the district has a high-dropout rate of learners due to child marriage. He said as a result, few children complete primary education.
“Our completion rate is at 84 percent, meaning that 16 percent of children dropout of school. Some of the reasons are teen pregnancies and child marriages. So, this campaign is important to end child marriages,” said Chiwowa.
In his remarks, guest of honour Paramount Chief M’mbelwa V, who is also the campaign’s ambassador, said he will initiate formulation of by-laws against the malpractice.
“We have by-laws restricting families from marrying off children in Traditional Authority M’mbelwa. We need to replicate these laws in all traditional authorities,” he said. n