Lilongwe District Council has admitted that child marriage cases have contributed significantly to increased dropout rates among girls in the district.

Director Planning and Development (DPD) for the Council, Willard Chirwa made the revealed on Wednesday during a Child marriage mobilization campaign supported by Global Hope at the headquarters of Traditional Authority (TA) Chitukula in Lilongwe.

He said when the Council developed a District Development Plan (DDP), where Child marriage issues was identified as one of the critical problems facing a lot of communities in the district.

“Education of most girls have been largely affected as a result of going into marriages before coming out of age. As a council we note that this will in long run affect the development of the district since education is key to any meaningful development of any country,” Chirwa explained.

He said the DDP which runs from 2017 to 2022 formulated some key action activities to ensure that option leaders, Traditional Authorities, Members of Parliament, Councillors and Area Development Committee (ADC) members are sensitizing on the dangers of encouraging child marriages in their areas.

Chirwa hailed the working partnership the Council has with Global Hope saying it has helped them to mobilize communities to safe guard against the vice.

“We have formulated by-laws regarding child marriages and the Full Council approved them and they are with Ministry of Justice for vetting to ensure there are in line with the laws of Malawi. We are just waiting for them to give us a go ahead in order to start implementing them in the Council,” the DPD explained.

Executive Director of Global of Hope Caleb Thole said his organization has been supporting the District Council to develop their DDP.

He said capacity building for the Council staff has been key to ensure that their plans are implemented accordingly.

Thole said through the DDP, communities should be able to address their problems such as issue of child marriages by being involved at all levels.

“The sensitization meetings that are being carried out by the Council are helping us to assess how best the issues can handled using the available Council structures,” he added.

Group Village Headman Kainja said some child marriages in the area have been withdrawn as they are back to school.

He said child marriages are in the increase in the area as a result of the absence of by-laws to police the malpractices among communities.

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