NCHINJI – Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) has started training men and boys in Mchinji to turn them into male champions that could help in combating child marriages and other forms of abuse against women and girls.

Mchinji YONECO Project Officer, Tionge Banda said on Saturday the initiative is part of a project ‘Marriage no Child’s Play’ under the More than Brides Alliance, which the organisation is implementing in Traditional Authority Zulu.

She said men and boys are being trained on child and women rights so that they can reach out to their peers and sensitise them on the same.

“The trained men will be conducting sessions with fellow men so that they can be role models in helping their wives with household chores.

“Similarly, same sessions will be done with boys so that they can be helping girls with household chores,” she said.

Banda added that most girls are said to be dull in school because they go to school already tired because they are overworked at home, hence end up dropping out and get married at an early age.

One of the male champions, Maxwell Misomali said it was helpful to involve them in efforts geared to end child marriages because men are heads of families.

He said men and boys have to advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights such as access and usage of contraceptives to avoid teenage pregnancies which will fuel child marriages.

Through the same project, YONECO has also trained girls in financial literacy and business management skills.

One of the girls, Falesi Tembo said she started a business after the training and that she was now able to pay for her own school fees.

“I failed to go to school last term because I did not have school fees, but now I am able to be in class because I can pay my school fees using proceeds from my business,” Tembo said.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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