Knowledge gap among local authorities and stakeholders in Ntcheu on how they can deal with child marriage cases is said to be one of the factors contributing to increase in child marriages in the district.
This was revealed on Monday during an interface meeting between police and local leaders at Kasinje in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Ganya in the district.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA), Ntcheu Community Policing Coordinator, William Bunya said they have noted with concern that many local authorities in the district are not aware of how they can deal with child marriage cases and where they can refer if failed to deal with at a local level.
Police in the district are conducting interface meetings with local authorities aimed at strengthening the relationship between the police and the community, as well as sensitizing the locals on how they can work together to fight child marriages in the district.
“We want to create a good relationship with the locals by sensitizing them on how we can work together to fight malpractice which is at alarming stage due to Covid 19 pandemic,” said Bunya.
In his remarks representative of T/A Ganya, Group Village Headman Kasinje hailed police for the meeting saying it has equipped them with knowledge on how they can deal with child marriage cases.
“We are now aware on how we can fight child marriages in our localities. We commend the police for the meeting as it has strengthened our relationship with them,” he said.
However, one of the Child Protection Worker in the area Bukanani Nkondoguluka has faulted police and courts in the district for not showing seriousness in handling child marriage related issues.
Nkondoguluka said there are a number of cases that are not yet concluded in courts despite much efforts to end the vice.
“We have been reporting a lot of cases to police but only few have been taken to court which we think is a set back in the fight against Child marriages. We want all perpetrators to be dragged to court so as it should be a lesson to others,” he said.
According to the district statics as of August, 561 child marriages have been recorded since the closure of schools due to Covid 19 pandemic.
World Vision International and Youth Net and Councelling (YONECO) are some of the notable organisations that are on the forefront in fighting the child marriages in the district.