Chewa Chiefs in Zambia , Katete and Vubwi districts have resolved to ban traditional initiation ceremonies for boys and girls below the age of 18.
The Chewa Chiefs have also banned initiation of boys under the age of 18 into Gule Wamkulu groups.
This is in an effort to abolish negative cultural norms that affect children in accessing education and to prevent cases of early marriages.
According to a report of Action Plan made by the Chewa Chiefs, presented by Chieftainess Kawaza at the just ended Chiefs Indaba, no girl child shall undergo initiation ceremony below the age of 18.
The report adds that initiation of boys into the traditional Gule Wamkulu will be done at the age of 18 and only on days when schools are closed.
The Chiefs also agreed not to entertain parents allowing their children below the age of 18 to herd cattle.
Chieftainess Kawaza attributed the increase in the number of teenage pregnancies in rural areas to lack of knowledge among people on things that can help them in life.
The traditional leader said sensitizing communities on sexual reproductive health and rights is also one of the interventions that can be used in reducing cases of child marriages.