Chiefs Critical in Ending Early Marriages

Senior Chief Chikumbu says chiefs are custodians of culture and society who should take lead in mobilizing community participation in development.

Chikumbu, who is board member of Campaign for Female Education (Camfed), said this on Thursday in Nyaminyami district in Zimbabwe when she met her counterpart Chief Negande during an exchange visit that was organized by Camfed.

“We need to be organized in mobilizing communities to participate in development without waiting for government and other stakeholders to initiate such programs for them,” Chikumbu said.

She pointed out that the role of traditional leaders is not limited to cultural issues but also encompasses other social and economic issues critical to individual lives and their society.

The Senior Chief then took time to ask her counterpart, Chief Negande, to actively take part in the fight against early marriages so that girls complete their education and become responsible citizens.

She said while organizations such as Camfed are offering support through to learners through bursaries, other stakeholders such as traditional leaders have a role in making sure that female learners enjoy all their rights.

“We need to promote girl child education and make sure that girls are protected from any form of abuse. In my area, I have managed to end over 1500 child marriages,” Chikumbu said.

On his part, Chief Negande applauded Camfed for organizing the visit saying they have learnt from the Malawi team especially on how they end child marriages and promote girl child education.

The exchange visit was planned to share experiences on ending child marriages and targeted responsive bursary support, an approach that Zimbabwe has been implementing for several years now.

Malawi team comprised of six members that included the chief, officials from Camfed, Nsanje District Community Development Committee (CDC), National CAMA Chairperson and Teacher Mentor from Zomba.-MANA