By Grace Kapatuka
Salima, September 17, Mana. Salima District Council, with support from World Vision, has embarked on the ‘End Child Marriage’ campaign aimed at terminating marriages of children in the district.
Speaking during the function on Tuesday at Tchuwa School, Senior Chief Kalonga hailed the council’s initiative and World Vision support, saying it would promote education in the district since the young boys and girls would be sent back to school.
Senior Chief Kalonga said it was worrisome to note that some children opted to go into marriage after closure of schools due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“Going by reports that we have received from chiefs and other sources, it shows that many children chose to get married after schools were closed and this is worrisome because we want these children to go back to school and not remain in marriage,” he said.
The chief issued a strong warning to parents and guardians to ensure that all the under-age children are withdrawn from marriages and sent back to school, saying failing to do so would attract unspecified action.
He also urged community and faith leaders from the district to work together with child protection committees from their respective areas in ensuring that children are withdrawn from early marriages.
Statistics from Salima District Hospital indicate that the facility registered about 6,000 teenage pregnancies from January to August, 2020.
Salima District Social Welfare Officer, Fedda Mbwana said her office would do everything possible to see to it that all children in the district are protected from all forms of abuse which include early marriages.
Mbwana said it was the wish of government through the Ministry of Gender to ensure that all children have access to education and that they are protected from abuse.
“We will continue with such initiatives until we see that we have withdrawn all of them from early marriages and that they are readmitted into school so that they get educated and become productive citizens of the country,” she said.
District Manager for World Vision, Thokozani Chibwana said it is the obligation of his organisation to complement government’s efforts in its development agendas, including saving children from early marriages.
He pledged to continue supporting the council in such campaigns when need arises for the betterment of the children’s future.