Eye of the Child will this month launch a campaign aimed at creating a protective environment for children by sensitising communities on the dangers of child marriages in Balaka, Lilongwe, Blantyre and Machinga districts.
The 12 months long campaign against child marriages has received support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives to the tune of $27,000 (about K15,120,000).
In an interview today, Eye of Child executive director Maxwell Matewere said Machinga and Balaka have some of the highest numbers of children withdrawn from marriages while many children in Blantyre are forcefully recruited into prostitution.
He said the project will therefore enhance collaboration among stakeholders and sensitise the public on the need to report all forced and arranged child marriages.
Said Matewere: “The Project will also provide training to 100 Child Protection service providers through community committees and 10 structures. Drawing from our experiences in Blantyre, the project will focus on participatory techniques.
“Central to this process will be the participation of children to ensure they are involved in all stages of the project cycle; this will involve working with traditional leaders targeting practices which prohibit decision making by children and increasing awareness of a variety of stakeholders on child rights.”
Writing the organisation a goodwill message, Canada High Commissioner for Mozambique, Swaziland and Malawi, Shawn Barber, stressed the need for girls to be in school and progress to play their rightful roles in future.
Said Barber: “As Malawi begins to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) issues of child marriage need to be highlighted so that they are visible both at national and local levels. It is therefore important that Child Marriage issues should be addressed across the country.”
According to the project’s outline, it is expected that 100 girls below the age of 18 years will have been effectively prevented from travelling to Blantyre for early marriages and prostitution and provided with alternatives and a further 800 at risk girls will have been prevented from prematurely entering marriages by the end of the project.