Good Health Organisation has intensified its efforts to wipe out early pregnancies and marriages by among other things, drilling various community structures, including the youth, on sexual and reproductive rights and child protection in Kasungu District.

Through the ‘Kulimbikitsa Udindo ndi Uchembere Wabwino kwa Achinyamata (KUUWA)’ Project, the organization has embarked on several pieces of training of various community structures.

Boys and girls in youth clubs are included in the pieces of training and are expected to help in sensitizing their communities on the dangers of early pregnancies and marriages after training.

Speaking during the training of Girl mentors on Champions of Change, KUUWA Child Protection Specialist, Angella Manyika, said the training will expand awareness efforts government put in place to address the situation.

“We thought of organizing this training for the girl mentors so that they can lead in challenging some social inequalities existing at community level that contribute to teenage pregnancies as well as child marriages,” Manyika said.

To ensure teenage girls and boys in hard-to-reach areas are fed with messages on sexual and reproductive health, the organization also distributed 21 bicycles to girl mentors to ease their mobility.

In her remarks, one of the participants, Mercy Nkhoma of Kakwale Youth Club, said many girls lack important information on sexual and reproductive health rights and child protection.

“Many girls are being forced by their parents and guardians to get married because they do not know what to do or where to report.

“Now, the coming of these bikes will help us reach out to many girls in remote areas with sexual and reproductive health messages,” Nkhoma said.

In his remarks, Kasungu District Gender Officer, Humphrey Longwe, said the district has recorded over 455 cases of child marriages within the COVID-19 period.

He said the development needed more interventions from development partners and the government.

“Our development partners here have really helped us in managing these cases whereby we have been going into places where these cases are.

“So, as a district, we will continue engaging various stakeholders such as development partners and community structures, to assist in dealing with the malpractice,” Longwe said.

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