Gender Gender

Plan International launches ‘Yes I do’ project to end child marriages

BENEDICT TEMBO, Petauke
PLAN International Zambia has launched a project dubbed ‘Yes I do’ in Eastern Province to curb early marriages.
The project has been launched in Chadiza, Katete and Petauke districts which have higher rates of early marriages.
The five-year project funded by the Netherlands government will work with Government departments, traditional leaders, youths, non-governmental organisations and a cross section of stakeholders.
Launching the project in Petauke recently, district commissioner Venelesi Banda said Government is delighted to partner with Plan International on the ‘Yes I do’ project to support interventions aimed at addressing issues related to ending child marriages, teen pregnancies and empowering girls and boys in Petauke district.
Ms Banda said Government is concerned about the high prevalence rates of child marriages in the country.
According to the Zambia Demographic Survey, the country is ranked 10th globally with 42 percent child marriage rates.
Eastern Province is leading with a rate of 62 percent as Chadiza, Katete and Petauke districts are among the highest in the province.
She said Government is working tirelessly to ensure the scourge is brought to an end.
“Government has introduced gender-friendly interventions as well as introducing and implementing child-friendly laws,” she said.
Addressing head teachers, Ms Banda appealed to other heads of government departments, NGOs, the media and other stakeholders to join hands with Plan International in the fight against child marriages.
She said head teachers are instrumental in the fight against child marriages as they preside over children who come from different backgrounds.
She urged head teachers to implement government policies in line with the re-entry policy for children who become pregnant.
Plan International Zambia children protection and participation coordinator Hilda Maungila said the institution has engaged teachers as gate-keepers to scale up sensitisation.

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