NGOCC describes early marriages a national crisis
By Staff Reporter
Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council executive director Engwase Mwale says child marriage is a national crisis.
Speaking when paid a courtesy call on Mumbwa Council chairperson, Gracious Hamatala yesterday, Mwale challenged all leaders to continue speaking against child marriage.
“We need to work together to ensure that we fight child marriage in our country. We even have representatives from the chief…in other areas where we have are implementing this program, the chiefs have banned child marriage. We are hoping that with this committee’s intervention, we can work towards that. We are not just looking at withdrawing girls from marriages and sending them to school. We are also looking at introducing some empowerment programmes targeting the families where the girls are coming from. We want the committee to continue engaging these families so that parents are involved,” Mwale said.
Mwale said her organisation was hoping the police and the council could use various engagements to ensure that child marriage ends as it is not good for sustainable development,
“Child marriage brings about health complications for girls themselves and economic challenges. We came to Mumbwa to ensure that the committee makes sure that the girls we are working with go back to school this week.” she said.
And Hamatala said that child marriage was a serious problem in Zambia.
“We acknowledge that the problem of child marriage is a serious one. Every time you visit the hospitals especially during important days like when taking Christmas hampers or visiting New Year babies, you will find that over 50 per cent of the mothers are under age. If you find those that are of age, again you will find that will be their second or third child. Implying that when they had their first child, they were still under age,” Hamatala said.
Hamatala said he was happy that NGOCC had engaged traditional leaders in the ending child marriage program.
“You have got our 100 per cent support on this project. Count on all the civic leaders here in Mumbwa. Our aim is to ensure that Mumbwa begins to contribute to national development. We cannot develop if our girls are getting married at a tender age,” Hamatala said.
Hamatala further stated that NGOCC’s sensitization programmes on ending child marriage in Mumbwa has led to parents that married off their children surrender the girls to the village committee to help them get back to school.