In a bid to reduce child marriages in Balaka district, YONECO followed up on 28 child marriage cases
that were reported within the month of August in threeTraditional Authorities of; Nsamala, Nkaya and Kachenga.

YONECO worked hand in hand with the District Police Office to rescue the girls from marriages. So
far, 1 2 cases were closely followed up and 1 2 girls were rescued from child marriages. 3 girls are
pregnant and have promised to go back to school 6 months after child delivery.

The other 2 girls got married to men who are much older than them and their cases are pending
court hearing. While the 7 girls got married to fellow minors have promised to go back to school
as soon as classes begins.

The parents for the girls are thankful to the organization for assisting them by withdrawing the girls from marriages. Right to education for boys and girls in Balaka is greatly threatened by harmful cultural practices, most families are poor and they regard a young girl as an economic burden and her marriage as a necessary survival strategy for the family.

In addition to this, community members perceive that early marriage offers protection for their daughter from sexual assault, or more generally offers the care of a male guardian and seen as a strategy to avoid girls becoming pregnant outside of marriage.

Some religions discourage its followers not to seek medical attention which in one way or another affects the right to education of children.

Though this is the case, most community members have knowledge about child rights, marriage age and consequences of being sexually involved with minors. This is a result of awareness campaigns which YONECO, Social Welfare and Police have been conducting in various communities in the district.

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