MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-Stakeholders in the Northern Region District of Mzimba have embarked on the formation of a taskforce to combat teenage marriages and pregnancies which have reached alarming levels due to Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a report by Mzimba South District Education Manager (DEM) Office, over 500 primary school going children have been involved in either early marriages or pregnancies during the five month school break. The report further disclosed that 439 girls girls have fallen pregnant, a situation that has forced Mother Groups from Khosolo Area, chiefs and Action Aid Malawi to embark on a counterattack.
Speaking during an interface meeting, Action Aid Malawi Cluster Manager for the Northern Region, Stonard Madise, said the situation is quite overwhelming due to the Covid-19 induced school recess.
“So far, reports indicate that 62 girls; some of them are into marriages and some of them are pregnant. So, that instigated us to have this meeting with the School Management Committees, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) mother support groups, VDC members as well as local leaders like chiefs. So, that is why we wanted to meet and see the way forward on how we can support these girls,” said Madise.
Commenting on the development, Inkosi Khosolo Gwaza Jere said some backward cultural practices and beliefs are the ones that also play a role in forcing children in the area to indulge in such uncalled for behaviour.
In her sentiments, Director of Khosolo Mother Group, Joyce Mwale, indicated that there is need for them to call upon all stakeholders to put the situation to sleep. She also said if the situation is left unattended, more girls’ lives may be lost during delivery or unsafe abortions.
Most districts in the country have registered high records of teenage marriages and pregnancies since schools were forced to close down on March 23 this year due to Covid-19 pandemic scare.