Shocking! Include Child Sex Abusers in Fight Against Teen Pregnancies – MP in Malawi


In a shocking revelation, a female member of the Malawi Parliament for Nsanje South West, Eurita Valeta, has called for the inclusion of ‘blessers’ in the fight against teen pregnancies, which mostly affect girls below the age of consent.

Valeta, who is also Deputy Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, made the call at a panel discussion on Sexual and Reproductive Health for Youth held in Blantyre on Saturday.

‘Blessers’ is a term used to describe older men who coerce underage girls into sex in exchange for money and other expensive gifts as a form of indirect remuneration for sex. Previously, the term used was ‘zidyamakanda’, implying men who prey on underage girls for sex. For adults, this practice resembles sex work as it involves regular remuneration such as monthly allowances and a high-end lifestyle for trendy products like iPhones, cars, and business investments, hence the term ‘blessers’.

The widespread prevalence of ‘blessers’ is seen as exacerbating teenage pregnancies. “As you are aware, it is the men, or the so-called blessers, who impregnate these girls. So, we need to involve them in order to win the war against teenage pregnancies. We should educate them about the dangers and consequences of having sex with young girls,” Valeta said.

It is not clear how the lawmaker proposes to engage these ‘blessers’ whose behaviour, leading to teenage pregnancies, put them in direct conflict with the law when it involves underage teenagers below the age of 18, which is the legal age of consent in Malawi. Any sexual activity with a child is illegal and constitutes defilement, akin to rape, as children cannot consent to sex.

Similarly to Valeta, Blantyre Soche West Ward Councillor Leonard Chimbanga also agreed that ‘blessers’ preying on vulnerable girls are one of the leading causes of child and young women’s pregnancies. Chimbanga noted that the practice is widespread among university female students buying preyed on by blessers.

“Blessers are fueling teenage pregnancies, especially in institutions of higher learning such as universities,” Chimbanga said.

According to Chimbanga, “They (blessers) take advantage of students who are less privileged and those craving expensive things by engaging in sexual activities with them in exchange for money and other items, resulting in early pregnancies.”

The discussion aimed to explore solutions to address the growing issue of teenage pregnancies in Malawi, including encouraging politicians to prioritise the issue and translating laws and policies on sexual and reproductive health into action.

According to the Malawi Demographic Health Survey of 2017, more than 6 in every 10 women have had sexual encounters as underaged girls before they reach the age of 18, and more than 8 out of every 10 women have had sex by the time they reach the age of 20. While this does not imply involvement with blessers as sex encounters might happen with fellow age mates, a nationwide survey undertaken by Malawi’s Ministry of Gender in collaboration with UNICEF, UKAID, and the USA’s CDC found that 7 in all 10 women experience child sexual abuse by the time they are 18.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.