Network For Youth Development (NFYD) under Girls Get Equal Project (Zotheka) last Saturday says it is excited that through its project interventions it has managed to influence ending child marriages in some District of Malawi including Lilongwe.
“We are working in the Girls Get Equal Zotheka project with local leaders towards social means that influence child marriages. We are hoping that our intervention under this project, we will be able to reduce child marriages . ” Mwatibu said.
Mwatibu further said the meeting was organized to give room for NFYD and traditional leaders to share experiences on how the chiefs have been handling child marriage cases as well as social norms that drives children into early marriages.
“The child marriages are going very bad, there are some factors that are prompting young people into child marriages, for instance issue of poverty, inadequate support from parents, lack of role models, unemployment as well as gule wamkulu.
“But with our interventions we have a lot to do, so that we will be able to reduce the trend.” She said.
Despite the challenges Mwatibu said there is quite a big progress saying some traditional leaders have tremendously worked so hard in ending the trend.
She added that there are some village heads who were demoted because they were engaged in sexual affairs with minors.
“We have noted remarkable progress because a lot of children have gone back to school, some dropped out of school because of all sorts of reasons, but with our interventions they have gone back to school, and we are also giving them scholarship programs by providing them with school uniforms to those that are needy including school development funds.” She explained.
Speaking in a separate interviews, Senior Group Village Headman Mwadenje encouraged NFYD as well as other NGO’s to scale up their support in order to uplift young people in the communities so that they are rescued from early marriages as well as defilement so that they become better citizens of Malawi.
“We are not saying that NGO’s have failed, but we are seeing that there is a high percentage of young people who are stranded doing nothing due to high unemployment levels.
“We want to encourage NGO’s to be our watchdogs, wherever things are not going well, they should voice out the voice of the voiceless and people should be heard and as well as act accordingly. ” Mwadenje said.
NFYD is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) working in some parts of Malawi, the Organization is working in collaboration with other six partners including Timveni, NFYD, CRECCOM,CARD,CAVWOC as well as Plan International among others, each working in its own sector including ending child marriages.
Girls Get Equal project(Zotheka) is a five year programme and is being implemented in several districts like Lilongwe, Mulanje and Phalombe.
By Esnath Kalawe