Group Village Headman Chimeza of Traditional Authority Chiwere, Dowa has stepped up efforts to curb child marriages and unplanned pregnancies.
This followed increased cases of child marriages and unplanned pregnancies in his area which has 15 villages.
“When the Radio Listener’s Club members started to ask for my voice and action on the matter that’s when I realized that the situation was getting worse by the day, hence the call for all to desist it,” said GVH Chimeza.
The GVH meeting brought together 15 village chiefs, parents and youths.
According to GVH Chimeza, he called for the meeting in order to further create a platform for the RLC to help sensitize the people of child marriages and unplanned pregnancies.
“I wanted my community, led by the RLC to hold dialogue and awareness on the dangers of child marriages and unplanned pregnancies” he said.
Under the project, the RLC underwent training in radio production as well as maternal health message orientation session that equip them to effectively engage and sensitize communities on issues around and facts that negatively affect maternal health.
Since members of RLCs are drawn from the same area, this helps not only to return their rich traditional knowledge of the area but also helps enrich communication and voice amplification of a given community.
In a recorded radio program, some parents were opting for their daughters to be married off at young age to escape poverty, others do pride in being called “grandparents”.
“Through the RLC I have come to appreciate the true power of face-to-face and voice-to-voice communication. Every meaningful lesson or belief I’ve garnered in life came from someone I value explaining the issue to me and involving me in the process of figuring out the solution,” said GVH Chimeza adding:
“I know, the problem is huge, and we might have only skimmed the surface, but at least we have started doing something about it. Thanks to the RLC for the awareness.”
According to the set by-laws, a parent of a child that has engaged in child marriage would pay a goat or its equivalent amount to the village Chief, GVH and the Traditional Authority respectively.