By Viciah Nasonh, MEC Stringer
Chiefs in Dedza district have been urged to put extra gear in fighting against child marriages which is contributing to the spread of HIV and AIDS among adolescent girls.
The call has been made by Youth Initiative for Community Development YICOD following the increase of number of girls who are getting early pregnancies and HIV and AIDS.
This is happening despite the interventions by different organizations.
YICOD executive director Andrew Bwanali said the organisation have campaigns on the role of women and adolescent girls in sexual reproductive health and rights issues in Traditional Authority (T.A) Kasumbu and Kaphuka in a bid to curb some challenges faced by girls.
“As YICOD we are implementing this activity where we are intending to engage adolescent girls and young mothers in national Youth related policy and programs supported by global fund.
“We are conducting these campaigns to increase community participation in promoting change on harmful traditional beliefs and practices that contribute to the spread of HIV and AIDS , early marriages,school dropout and many challenges faced by adolescent girls,” said Bwanali.
Senior Chief Mpalare therefore stressed the need to corroborate with teachers and parents in making sure that adolescent Girls are remaining in schools.
“I will make sure that girls are not abused in any way, also those chiefs that are perpetrating to early marriages will be punished hence I learnt that there are still some chiefs who are receiving money to initiate these marriages a thing that is contributing to HIV and AIDS pandemic,”said Senior Mpalare.
He said there is a need also to engage adolescent girls in programs designing , implementing as well as monitoring activities.
One of teen mothers who returned to school after giving birth, Christina Chancy commended YICOD for the campaign saying many girls are now realising their rights in issues to do with sexual reproductive health.
Chancy said she returned to school upon learning some challenges faced by girls who have failed to complete their education saying now she is able to advice her fellow young ladies.
YICOD is implementing the activity with the amount of money totaling to USD2000 with the support from HER VOICE.