By Sam Majamanda
Phalombe, Mana: Youth in Phalombe district on Wednesday said forced child marriages continue to deny girls of their bright futures.
Chairperson for Mphatso Youth Club of Mkhumba Area in the district made the remarks, Alfredo Chipendo during a community sensitization activity that the Community Based Organization held at Mpasa Primary School with the aim of educating community members of the dangers of forced child marriages.
He said through its interaction with the community the organization learnt that most parents were still marrying off their young girls on poverty grounds.
“This is sad, and due to that we decided to eliminate the malpractice in order to rescue our girls from the vice,” Chipendo said.
The organization has been conducting sensitization campaigns using sporting activities and participatory arts (including drama) in conveying anti-forced marriages messages.
According to the organization’s records, over the past six months through its interaction with the community it has recorded 58 forced marriages, 20 physical abuses and 20 school related violence cases, among which some were followed up and resolved.
Senior Chief Mkhumba said it was worrisome that despite government and partner interventions the vice was still persistent in her area.
“We are worried about it, and when youthful organizations such as these come forward to assist in eliminating the behaviour, we feel humbled,” she said.
According to the district social welfare office in 2021 the office recorded a total of 429 early marriages, some of which have been annulled.
With support from the United Nations Trust Fund through the MAWA Project, Mphatso Youth Club has reached over 10, 000 people with messages on child marriages but the organization eyes 20, 000.