World Vision Malawi has engaged community leaders from Traditional Authority Mavwere in Mchinji on child marriages.
The training follows a Mavwere Child Protection Committee report that the area registered 51 teen pregnancies and 76 child marriages between May and August 2020.
Speaking on Thursday on the sidelines of a five-day training in the district, World Vision Malawi zonal communications, child protection and advocacy manager Lizzie Lombe said they wanted to empower traditional leaders, village development committees and other stakeholders on how to protect children from early marriages.
She said: “We want traditional leaders to take a role in ending violence against children.
“This is part of our global campaign to end child marriages by 2030.”
On his part, Mavwere Area Development Committee chairperson Innocent Chavala said children were being sexually abused and married off by parents in his area.
He also blamed some cultural practices for fuelling child abuse.
Said Chavala: “Covid-19 has also contributed to the rise in child marriage following the closure of schools last year.
“However, the training has equipped us with skills to protect children from abuse.”
In his remarks, Senior Chief Mavwere pledged to enforce by-laws to protect children in his area.
“I will also engage traditional leaders to abolish cultural practices that fuel child marriages,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mchinji Police Station has urged community members to be cooperative in the fight against child marriages in the district.
According to reports from Mchinji District Social Welfare Office, the district registered 1 072 teen pregnancies and child marriages between May and August 2020.