Written by Joseph Mbughi
Yamba Community Day Secondary School staff and its Mother Group Committee in Chitipa has ended 13 early marriages and has sent seven pregnant students back to school in the district.
This was disclosed during back to school appreciation event at Yamba CDSS organized by Creative Center for Community Mobilisation (CRECCOM) which is non-governmental organization.
Speaking at the event, headteacher from the school Mabvuto Munyenyembe said the problem of early marriages and early pregnancies came in due to covid-19 pandemic where students were sent home for their safety which made many students to get married.
Munyenyembe said under CRECCOM project Yamba CDSS mother group committee in partnership with Chitipa police have managed in the fight to end 13 early marriages within Chitipa Boma.
“As of now seven students are back to school while pregnant. The management developed a committee that is responsible for guidance and counseling, after we bring them back to school we encourage them not to fear, and we discussed with other students not to discriminate them but rather to associate with them because all are students,” he said.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati said parents have great responsibility to make sure that their children are safe from early marriages and pregnancies without looking their poverty but encouraging the girl child to go to school.
Kaliati asked the church leaders more especially the Pastors not to officiate teenagers weeding but rather encouraging them to go to school for the development of this nation and to decrease the number of illiteracy in the country.
“Our ministry is busy sending gender officers in all borders of the country to protect girl child so that when they are crossing the borders they should be asked where they are going if there is no proper reason they are sent back,” Kaliati said.
On the cultural issues, the minister asked the chiefs in the district to implement the policy of the nation to end early marriages and dissolve all the marriages in the village of Nakasale where only one female learner managed to sit for Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination of this year while all others got married.
Executive board member of CRECCOM Senior Chief Chowe said their organization is working hard in bringing girls back to school who left due to early marriages and early pregnancies, after noticing that the communities are willing to end the practices with the support from mother groups.
As of now, police report for third-quarter January to September statistics for 2020 shows that 443 GVB cases were registered in 2019 as compared to 542 cases in 2020 while 17 cases of child sexual abuse were registered in 2019 as compared to 18 cases in 2020.