M’mbelwa District Council has withdrawn 363 children from early marriages out of the 380 verified marriages in the district.
The Council says it has not managed to withdraw all the children due to inadequate financial resources.
Speaking in an interview recently, District Social Welfare Officer for Mzimba, Bernard Nangwale said 380 children in Mzimba South got married during the period when schools were closed due to Covid-19.
“We have withdrawn about 363 children from child marriages with assistance from Community Child Protection Workers and other stakeholders which represent 95 percent achievement of the total verified marriages,” said Nangwale.
Mzimba Social Welfare Office set September 30 as a date to have all children withdrawn from early marriages.
But Nangwale said this has not been met due to the vastness of the district with so many hard to reach areas as well as inadequate financial resources.
Mzimba Social Welfare Office is also providing psychosocial support to the children who have been withdrawn from marriages so that they go and remain in school.
“We are advising parents and traditional leaders to guard children from getting married before the legal marriage age. We are further appealing to different stakeholders to help these children with basic needs and education support in any form,” he said.
Senior chief Mtwalo has, however, expressed concern over lack of coordination amongst players in the exercise.
He said the fight against child marriages in the district cannot be easily won as stakeholders are approaching the issue in isolation.
“Most local structures at grassroots are doing their best to withdraw children from child marriages. But we need to put an extra gear and work as a team so that all child marriages are dissolved,” said Mtwalo.