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Pregnancy not path to marriage – YWCA

THE Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) has advised parents not to force their under-age girls into marriage when they fall pregnant.
YWCA Copperbelt regional coordinator Sharon Chisanga said in an interview that incidents of parents forcing their pregnant girl-children into marriage are on the increase.
Ms Chisanga said parents are forcing their young daughters to cohabit with men responsible as soon as they learn about pregnancies.
“The girl-child has the right to education,” she said.
Ms Chisanga said YWCA will work with the government to ensure that perpetrators are punished because the practice is a violation of girls’ human rights.
“It has now become common in Kitwe that whenever a girl-child becomes pregnant, her parent drags her to the house of the man and marriage starts from there,” she said.
Ms Chisanga said many young girls are being married off in the same manner, a practice that is ruining their future.
She said parents should not rush into marrying off their under-age girls but should instead invest in their education so that they become better and responsible citizens.
Ms Chisanga said early marriages hinder development as most girls are being married off without attaining any formal qualification to afford them some independence to manage on their own in case the marriage fails.

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