Gender Gender

Chief Madzimawe bemoans swelling number of early marriages

EARLY MARRIAGE RURAL COOKING CHILD BRIDE

ARTHUR MWANSA, Lusaka
CHIEF Madzimawe of the Ngoni people in Eastern province has expressed concern over the increasing number of early, forced and child marriages in the area.
But the chief has described the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) in 2014 in his chiefdom as successful.
Chief Madzimawe told the Femail that although progress has been made in reducing the number of GBV cases, child marriages, especially among school-going children, are still a source of concern.
“It is sad that cases of forced and child marriages are also perpetuated by the lack of commitment from local authorities and stakeholders such as the Police Victim Support Unit and the Young Woman Christian Association.
He said as chiefdom, there was progress in the fight against GBV with fewer cases being reported, adding that the prevalence rate was now going down.
But he noted that it was disheartening that victims of GBV could not access services from the police because officers in charge attended to other matters such as political events.
He further said the YWCA who have safe havens for victims of GBV were not helping those in need and phone calls to their offices went unanswered.
Chief Madzrmawe said he was also dismayed that the VSU in his chiefdom had no transport to help victims of GBV, a situation which has resulted in the traditional leader using his own vehicles to ferry victims of GBV to either the hospital or the police.
In 2013, the government launched a nation-wide campaign to end child marriage, draw attention to the harmful impact of child marriage and to encourage communities to delay marriage for their daughters. It was spearheaded by the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs.
The campaign was followed by a symposium on child marriage, which brought together key stakeholders, like government Ministries, traditional leaders, civil society organisations, youth, media and United Nations agencies to explore ways to collaborate to end child marriage.

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