In an effort to improve the rights and welfare of the girl child, Chilimba Women and Children Support Group (CHILIWOGO) recently conducted an interface meeting with community members, education authorities, traditional and political leaders in Machinga district in order to eliminate child marriages which are widespread in the district.
During the meeting that attracted many people, it was established that lack of proper facilities in schools, forced marriages and harmful cultural practices are among the chief factors that affect the progress and welfare of girls in Machinga North East Constituency.
In his remarks, Senior Chief Nyambi bemoaned slow progress of development projects in his area. He stated that this eventually impacts negatively on the efforts that are aimed at promoting the welfare of the girl child in his area.
Senior Chief Nyambi stated that learners have to walk long distances in the area in search of education.
Chief Nyambi pleaded with government to construct a boarding secondary school in the district as a way of boosting the education system for young people in his area. On this issue, the chief stated that the whole district does not have any government boarding secondary school.
Concurring with the Senior Chief, Traditional Authority (T/A) kapoloma admitted that Machinga North East Constituency is facing a lot of challenges in the process of supporting the girl child education.
He disclosed that the increase in the number of divorce cases is also one of the factors that are fuelling child marriages in his area.
“Most girls are dropping out of school due to poverty that comes in after the divorce of their parents”, explained Kapoloma.
In his remarks, the Primary School Advisor (PEA) for Namasika Zone, Bryson Kibulo, indicated that lack of sanitary facilities for girls in schools also contributes to the increase in school dropout rates and child marriages.
Responding to the issues that transpired during the meeting, special assistant to the Member of Parliament for the area and Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Charles Khozomba admitted that the area is indeed facing several challenges in the promotion of girl child education. Furthermore, Hon. Khozomba described the meeting as an eye opener and that his office will consider carefully the issues that were raised.
Chilimba Women and Children Support Group, which is a Nongovernmental organisation interested in issues affecting girls and women in Malawi, facilitated the interface meeting after observing an increase in the number of child marriages in the area.