Youth Coordinating Agency in Development -YOCADE has singled out harmful cultural practices and other religious beliefs as the major causes of early pregnancies resulting in increased cases of school dropouts among young girls in both rural and urban areas.
Project Coordinator for YOCADE Mervis Chitika was speaking at Namilango primary School in Blantyre when the organization engaged concerned stakeholders including School Committees, Parents, Teachers among others where they were discussing on how to deal with the development through the project called “Promoting girls’ education and eliminate social injustices associated with harmful cultural and religious beliefs”.
Chitika said early pregnancies that result to school dropout can be prevented only if adolescent girls are equipped with sexual reproductive health Rights education and skills through the establishment of girls’ clubs within the schools.
Statistics shows that 19 girls dropped out of school early this year at South Lunzu Primary school alone. According to Chitika unavailability of Sexual reproductive health rights-SRHR education and health care access in Malawi put most young girls at a disadvantage citing most girls are excluded because of the stigmatization surrounding youth Sexual activities.
She said in the next phase of project which is being funded by Hilden Charitable Funds- London UK the organization will introduce more school clubs where girls will be equipped with knowledge that will see early Marriages and school dropout becomes a thing of the past.
One of participates at meeting Joyce Navocha revealed that most parents also encourage their Children to enter into marriage because of other Culture taboos and religious beliefs.
YOCADE is a registered non-governmental organization and with Assistance from Hilden Charitable Funds- London UK is implementation the project in selected 4 schools 2 in Blantyre Rural and 2 in Blantyre Urban Traditional Authority Machinjiri.