13 September 2016 Last updated at: 7:05 AM

Malawi Chiefs told to end early marriages, harmful cultural practices

Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Patricia Kaliati has urged chiefs in the country to be at the forefront in encouraging their people to end early marriages if girls are to continue with education in the country.

Kaliati made the remarks at the end of a two day girls’ summit organised by Centre for Children’s Africa in collaboration with Human Development Services in Nsanje district.

The minister emphasized the need for chiefs in the country to put an end to early marriages and harmful cultural practices that are still going on in their communities.

Patricia Kaliati

Kaliati: Drilled the chiefs.

According to Kaliati, if chiefs can be active in ending early marriages across the country, girls can go further with education which can help them to be productive citizens of Malawi and to participate in social economic development.

“It’s important to talk to the girl child so that they can help desist from these harmful cultural practices. These girls will stand for themselves if their parents force them to take part in these cultural rituals,” said Kaliati.

“We are focusing on having a better Malawi and relaying the message to the girls who are on the ground will help us eradicate challenges that they face,” she added.

According to Kaliati, government and non- governmental organizations are working together to eradicate harmful cultural practices by finding people who can interpret the effects of such practices to girls.

During the summit, the girls highlighted issues that affect them as children and later developed a statement about cultures that affect the girl child which they presented to the minister.