Chief Moyo set to fight child marriages


CHIEF Moyo of Pemba in Southern Province has reiterated his commitment to fighting child marriages in his chiefdom.
The traditional leader said he will not allow children, especially girls, in his chiefdom to be forced into early marriages at the expense of acquiring education.
He said this on Friday when he made a presentation on early marriages during a workshop dubbed ‘Change Champions’ organised by the district community medical office.
Change Champion is an engagement of communities to demand for women to access quality health services during pregnancy, labour and after delivery.
The workshop was supported by the Safe Motherhood Giving Life (SMGL), a United States programme on HIV/AIDS (USAID)-funded project whose objective is to reduce maternal mortality.
Chief Moyo said he has waged war against child marriages as it hinders children’s education aspirations.
“Culturally, marriage is for elderly people and not young ones. A young person who enters marriage is most unlikely to contend marital disputes as their mental status is not ready for that.  Allow children to complete school and then they can later decide to get married,” the traditional leader said.
He said the fight against child marriages, which First Lady Christine Kaseba described as a national crisis, can only be won when civil society organisations, police and the judiciary partner to curb the vice.
“Let us treat early marriages with the seriousness it deserves. People from other chiefdoms should not even think about engaging in this vice with children in my chiefdom, I will not allow that,” he said.
During the workshop, over 20 Change Champions from Choma and Pemba were equipped with knowledge on how they can advocate change in various social issues affecting their communities.
In phase two of the project; five districts, namely Choma, Pemba, Chipata, Kabwe, Samfya and Zimba, were targeted.
Earlier, SMGL-CSH national coordinator Maggie Sikamba said the country had recorded a reduction of 35 percent in maternal mortality since 2013 in areas where the project is implemented.

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