Foundation for Community Support Services has asked community members in Paramount Chief Kyungu’s area in Karonga District to protect girls from early marriages.
Speaking on Wednesday at Mweninguwe in the district, the organisation’s project coordinator Robert Silungwe said early marriages is one of the factors leading to school dropout.
He also blamed harmful cultural practices for early marriages and asked community leaders to address such practices.
“We want traditional and religious leaders and community members to know the roles they can play towards promoting the education of girls. People should stop regarding girls as just good for marriage,” said Silungwe.
He pledged to support eight girls and two boys with bursaries at secondary school.
Group village head Mweninguwe said the bursary support came at the right time as many girls were dropping out of school due to lack of school fees.
“Parents are struggling to send children, especially girls, to school due to lack of fees and because of that, they opt for early marriages,” she said.
The chief said she will engage her subjects to formulate by-laws to address harmful cultural practices and punish parents who marry off their children.
Karonga district social welfare officer Atupele Mwalweni said her office has received 167 applications from needy girls in 11 community day secondary schools in Paramount Chief Kyungu’s area.
With funding from Telethon Broadcasting of Norway and Plan Malawi International, Foundation for Community Support Services is implementing Selling a Child Not a Bride Project to safeguard a girl child’s rights and protect her from harmful cultural practices in traditional authorities Kyungu and Mwilang’ombe in the district. n