Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) has drilled 16 youths from Traditional Authority Zulu in Mchinji with skills on preventing and ending child marriages in their communities.
The participants, who are called the Community Based “Ending Child Marriages Campaign” Promoters, were drawn from various villages under the project called More Than Brides-Marriage No Child’s Play.
During the training, participant were drilled on how to handle cases to do with infringing the rights of girl child from their communities.
The training which drawn together 8 girls and 7 boys was facilitated by officers from Mchinji police victim support unit and the office of Mchinji social welfare.
The participants were oriented on the issues that lead children, especially girls, to be subjected to different abuses including being forced into early marriages.
Among other issues that were emphasized as contributing factors to child marriages include cultural practices, poverty, orphanage, lack of civic education and peer pressure.
The participants have therefore been urged to take a leading role in protecting the children and ensure that all rights that safeguard the children are applied.
On the part of handling the cases the participants have been advised to report child abuse cases to police, social welfare office and civil society organizations such as YONECO and hold meetings with parents, traditional and religious leaders to discuss on the same.
One of the participants, Catherine Shumba, praised YONECO for organizing the training saying the skills gained will assist her in handling such cases without much challenges.
The main objective of the program is to establish and strengthen community structures and systems that positively responds to ending child marriage in T/A Zulu in Mchinji district.
According to a research, Malawi is ranked at number 13 as the country with the highest rate of child brides with a prevalence rate standing at 42% which is very higher in Sub-Saharan Africa.