Good Health Organisation has intensified efforts to end child marriages in Kasungu by engaging the youth on sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR).
The initiative follows efforts by traditional leaders in the district who are terminating the marriages in a bid to send the children back to school.
The organisation, through Kulimbikitsa Udindo ndi Uchembere Wabwino kwa Achinyamata (Kuuwa) project, is training the youth who will in turn sensitise their fellow youths to the dangers of early pregnancies and marriages.
In an interview, Kuuwa child protection specialist Angella Manyika said the training will increase awareness government conducted to address the situation of rising teen pregnancies and child marriages during the time schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We decided to train girl mentors to lead in challenging some social inequalities existing at community level that contribute to teenage pregnancies and child marriages,” she said.
The organisation also gave 21 bicycles to the girl mentors to ease their mobility in hard-to-reach areas with SRH meassages.
In a separate interview, Kakwale Youth Club member Mercy Nkhoma said many girls lack important information on SRH and child protection.
“Many girls are forced into marriages because they do not know where to report such cases,” she said.
Kasungu District gender officer Humphrey Longwe said they registered 455 cases of child marriages between March and September.
He said they need more interventions from development partners and government.
“So, as a district, we will continue engaging various stakeholders such as development partners and community structures to end the vice,” he said.