By Aaron Banda
A local Non-governmental Organization (NGO), working towards girl child education in the country, Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) has advised chiefs in Mchinji district to make use of existing by-laws in their areas in order to curb early marriages among school going young girls.
The remarks were made Friday in Mchinji during an interface meeting with Chiefs, School Committees and Area Development Committees (ADCs) and Village Development Committees (VDCs) members at Kochirila Community Day Secondary School (CDSS).
GENET District Coordinator, Blessings Phiri said through Improving Secondary Education in Malawi (ISEM) Project their organization is quite aware that communities in the district have so many by-laws and their aim is to among other things protecting and empowering girl child education.
“Let community authorities from the district take a leading role in child protection, they should make sure that that children are protected and are going to school,” he said.
Phiri said in Mchinji among other districts in the country many youth drop out of school due to early marriages and lack of parental assistance in providing every day school basic needs.
He called on the chiefs to enforce bylaws in their areas that promote girl child education and discourages early marriages of young girls.
Group Village Headman Mbingwa said most of the times people do not comply to by-laws due to their loss of confidence in chiefs.
According to Mbingwa, some chiefs become biased because they receive bribes from parties to the disagreement.
“Many people have lost trust in chiefs and most of chiefs are not aware of what their role is all about. They remain reluctant in enforcing bylaws,” she observed.
The Project with funding from European Union (EU) through COMIC Relief is being implemented by a consortium which comprises Genet, OXFAM and CAVOC.
Apart from Mchinji, GENET is in other 2 districts of Kasungu and Dowa.