Senior Chief Chikumbu of Mulanje district has urged all stakeholders to join hands in the fight against unintended teenage pregnancies and forced child marriages.
The traditional leader made the call during a review and community systems strengthening for Gender Based Violence (GBV) meeting organized by Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) under Comprehensive Action for Adolescents Girls and Young Women (AGYW) project in Mulanje district.
During the meeting, stakeholders also acknowledged the negative impact which COVID-19 global pandemic has made on rights and welfare of young people especially the girl child.
It was noted also that COVID-19 has weakened some child protection systems hence the country has experienced increased cases of child marriage and unintended teenage pregnancies.
Speaking during the meeting, Senior Chief Chikumbu expressed her worry over inadequate number of magistrates in the district.
She explained that the shortage leads to delays in delivery of justice on defilement and other child rights violation cases.
“Mostly, cases of GBV and Violence against Children (VAC) take ages to be concluded due to shortage of magistrates and cases are not prioritized as expected,” explained Senior Chief Chikumbu.
She also advised her subordinate chiefs to remind their subjects about the roles they have in preventing and reporting incidences of child rights violation.
Speaking after the meeting, YONECO’s AGYW Project Coordinator, Blessings Sabao, said the meeting brought to light a number of insights which will be used to inform the process of formulating other interventions.
YONECO in partnership with Malawi Girls Guides Association (MAGGA), is implementing the AGYW Project in Mulanje with funding from the Global Fund through Action Aid and Christian Aid.