Four teen marriages have been terminated in Group Village Headman (GVH) Matipwiri in Mulanje district in March and April 2018 in a drive to keep girls in school.
Symon Matipwiri, a Male Champion working under Comprehensive Action for Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) project disclosed this during Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) outreach activities at Nselema primary school in the area.
The activities were conducted under AGYW project which Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) is implementing in Mulanje in partnership with Malawi Girl Guides Association (MAGGA) with financial support from the Global Fund through Action Aid and Christian AID.
Matipwiri said the child marriages were terminated in Chituwatuwa, Milambe and Matipwiri villages.
“One girl is from Village Headman Chituwatuwa, two are from GVH Matipwiri and the the one is from Village Headman Milambe,” he told YFM in an interview.
According to Matipwiri, the children who are aged 14 and 15 were forced into marriage by their parents.
“When they appeared before GVH Matipwiri, the children said they went into marriage due to poverty as they did not have clothes and support for their education.”
“Myself together with the Head Teacher at Nselema Primary School we assured the children that they will not face any problem if they go back to school, so the Head Teacher assisted the children and they are now back in class.”
Matipwiri said with the help of YONECO, both the children and their parents received counselling to make sure that the children should not go back into marriages.
He said this has been possible because since the phasing out of the one year project, they have been working hand in hand with GVH Matipwiri and education authorities in dealing with child marriages.
According to Matipwiri, a further 15 child marriages were terminated in the area last year through the project.
“Here we have terminated 15 marriages involving girls aged between 14 and 15 and they returned to school. This brings to 19, the number of child marriages we have eliminated so far,” he said happily.
The Male Champion commended YONECO for its work which has helped to reduce cases of child marriages in the area.
“Before the project, a lot of girls as young as 12 years were getting married but now the problem has been minimized because we go from door to door to make sure that each child is going to school and if we find a child who is out of school, the parents are taken to task,” Matipwiri said.