Plan International has awarded certificates to 11 traditional leaders in appreciation of their efforts to reduce and terminate child marriages across the country.
Speaking during the ceremony at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe on Friday, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Cecilia Chazama said child marriages deny girls their right to education, health and choice, among others.
She commended the traditional leaders for taking bold steps in terminating child marriages despite facing various challenges in their communities.
The minister said the fight against child marriages should not be left to the traditional leaders alone.
Chazama applauded government for amending the Marriage Act which reviewed the marriageable age for girls from 15 to 18 years.
In his remarks, Plan International country director Daniel Muchena said the majority of those affected by child marriage are girls. He said the malpractice has a significant negative and complex correlation with education.
The 11 traditional leaders awarded included Paramount Chief M’Mbelwa V of Mzimba, Senior Chief Kachindamoto of Dedza, Senior Chief Chadza of Lilongwe, Senior Chief Liwonde of Machinga and group village head Kukada of Mulanje. n