Changoima Child Protection Committee in the area of Senior Chief Chapananga in Chikwawa has reportedly managed to withdraw about 30 children from early marriages when schools were closed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The committee also disclosed to have provided counseling services to the withdrawn girls.
The committee made the revelation on Thursday at Senior Group Village Head (GVH) Changoima’s Headquarters where representatives from district social welfare, Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) and Pastors Fraternal held community sensitisation campaign meetings on ending child marriages.
Chairperson for Changoima Child Protection Committee, Kennedy Mtseka said the committee is working hard to eliminate the bad practices so that they should improve education and also promote rights of children in the area.
“We have managed to dissolve 15 early marriages within the area of Senior GVH Changoima making a total number of 30 school children from different schools in our community.
“Some of the cases are promoted by harmful cultural beliefs which influence a child who is below the age of 18 to think that he/she is grown up and can get married after undergoing some cultural rites,” said Mtseka.
Mtseka asked different partners like the police to make a swift address to issues presented to them, saying there have been several cases reported but the law enforcers give it a blind eye.
Chikwawa District Assistant Social Welfare Officer, Emmanuel Banda commended MRCS for the financial support, saying it has made them reach out to the remote areas.
“Changoima is one of the remotest areas that borders Mozambique in the district. So, reaching out to them with the ending child marriages campaign is a milestone for us.
“We are committed to serve and promote rights of children in the district but we are limited at times because we don’t have enough resources to respond to the whole district. Our office records many cases of child marriages which need to be followed up but we need support from partners,” said Banda.
Senior GVH Changoima commended both the committee as well as partners who supported the area with the campaign, saying the support was timely and hoped the campaign will motivate other children who dropped out of school for various reasons to return to school once they reopen.