By Moses Nyirenda
The Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Mary Thom Navicha has said some cultural practices such as forced marriage are fueling the increase of child marriages in the country.
She made the remarks on Wednesday during the 30th commemoration of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which was held at Bingu International Convention Center (BICC) in Lilongwe.
Navicha who was the guest of honor at the function said that, Government of Malawi through her ministry is concerned with the increase of child marriages in the country due to some cultural norms; hence she said there is need of corroborative efforts in order to curb the challenge.
“As government we are very worried that some cultural practices are still contributing to the increase of child marriages in the country and government alone cannot manage to address the matter.
“However there is need of joint effort between the government, nongovernmental organizations and the public including local leaders in order to address the issue,” Navicha said.
She added that, her ministry remains committed to making sure that children are completing education and their rights are protected in the country.
During the function, the Minister among other things also launched a booklet which highlights country’s key achievements and challenges on implementation of the CRC.
Speaking at the same function, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Malawi Representative, Rudolf Schwenk said that his organization is devoted to assist in promoting rights of the children in the country.
“As UNICEF and other development partners we are strongly committed to support the Government of Malawi in promoting the rights of children as well as ending child marriages.
“Currently we are working with various sectors including the Ministry of Health to make sure that the nutrition is good for children and also with the Ministry of Education to make sure that right to education is realized among children,” he said.
On her part, Save the Children Country Director Kim Koch said that her organization is also committed to support in diversifying services for children in the country such as access to education and health services.
The commemoration was patronized by children from various schools and officials from different organizations including; UNICEF Malawi, Save the Children and Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO).-MANA