March 18, 2015
Stakeholders in Malawi’s Ntcheu district have joined efforts to take a bold step towards ending child marriages reportedly rampant.
Led by the police, different government departments, traditional leaders and the civil society on tuesday launched anti child marriage campaign after noting an increase of such cases.
Over seventy children below the age of 16 were withdrawn from early marriages the past 12 months in the district and sent back to school.
12 year old Nachisale (Not real name) is just one of many pupils below 16 years withdrawn from early marriages in Ntcheu.
Youth Net and counselling (Yoneco) alone has so far managed to withdraw 76 children from early marriages since january last year 2014 according to its district manager for Ntcheu, Sewenthe Mahwayo.
She said:- “We withdrew 68 pupils from forced early marriages in 2014 and we have already withdrawn 8 this year.”
Ntcheu district commissioner Harry Phiri says parents and chiefs are fuelling early marriages, in the name of household poverty.
Those found in marriage with such children below the age of 16, will answer defilement charges according to Ntcheu police officer in charge, chikondi chingadza.
“The law is clear, men taking children below 16 years is defilement,” said deputy commissioner Chingadza.
Ntcheu police hatched the idea and sold it to the civil society.
Concern universal among other civil society organisations provided resources to ensure that anti child marriage campaign is launched in Ntcheu.
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