By MWAPE MWENYA
WOMEN in Zambezi in the North-Western Province have attributed the rocketing levels of child marriages to poverty and lack of role models to encourage girl children stay in school.
Speaking in an interview during the Likumbi Lya Mize traditional ceremony last week, the women said poverty has prompted many girls to drop out of school for marriage.
Speaking on behalf of women, Alice Titima of Ndungu village said impoverished families fail to pay for their childrenâ€™s education hence, they encourage them to get married for financial gain.
â€œGirls do not even have role models, most women in our area get married at a tender age and young girls tend to think it is normal. And we need more female teachers in the area to serve as role models, that way our children will be encouraged,â€ Ms Titima said.
She has implored Government to fund women groups in the area to enable the women become financially independent and avoid depending on their husbands.
Ms Titima said women have formed groups in the area but the lack of funds is affecting their ability to function properly.
â€œGroups are there but the problem is funding, we have been applying from Government and non-governmental organisations but to no avail, if we had funds to function properly, we will be able to pay for our children educational needs and support our families,â€ she said.
And fifteen-year-old Gertrude Chimo said she was prompted to get married due to lack of interest in school.
Ms Chimo a mother of a three-month-old baby said she stopped school in grade seven at thirteen and decided to get married as most of her peers where already in married with children.
â€œI wanted to become a teacher but after seeing that my friends were married, I changed my mind, my parents objected although they were failing to pay for my school fees. This is why I am married, I am not happy because my husband does not support me financially as I thought he would,â€ Ms Chimo said.
Now she wants to return to school but lack of funds is inhibiting her.
By MWAPE MWENYA