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Graca Machel lauds Zambia

GRACA Machel Trust founder Graca Machel (middle seated) with some members of Parliament during her three-day visit in Zambia.

KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
GRACA Machel Trust (GMT) founder and lead advocate for Women and Children’s rights, Graca Machel says Zambia has the best policies and strategies for fighting

child marriages.
Ms Machel said Zambia is one of the first countries in the region to commit itself to the fight against child marriages with a legal framework.
The African icon also noted that Zambia was the first country to host the African Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa in 2015.
She also expressed happiness that President Lungu is a champion against child marriages at continental level.
Mrs Machel, however, observed that despite the country putting in place best policies and strategies, cases of child marriages, teen pregnancies and HIV are still very high.
She said the major challenge remains at implementation level.
She said there is need for the country to work even harder to ensure that the good policies and strategies are translated into reality.
Ms Machel said there is need for renewed commitment towards the fight against early marriages.
She said those charged with the responsibility of implementation should start pondering on what needs to be done and what can be done better to end child marriages.
She said the country should remember that the target is to end child marriages and not merely reducing the rates.
Ms Machel also said to make significant strides in the fight against child marriages, no one should be left behind.
And UNICEF representative Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim said there is need for concerted efforts among all stakeholders if the fight against child marriage is to be won.
Dr Ibrahim called for more sensitisation on the fight against child marriages, teen pregnancies and HIV infection.
He also said while Government has shown commitment in its budgetary allocation to the education, health and social sectors which directly impact on young girls, there is need for more investment.

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