The girl child needs to be protected by staying in school
By Leonard Masauli & Kiran Ntapasha, MANA
Mother groups and traditional leaders in Likoma District have vowed to impress on girls who dropped out of school due to pregnancies and teen marriages to go back and pursue their academic dreams.
Most of these school girls are staying idle at their homes and a member of the Island’s mother group, Veronica Mzenda said efforts and strategies have been put in place to ensure that girls remain in school.
She was speaking Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting amongst head teachers, primary school advisors, mother groups, police and traditional leaders.
Mzenda said it was sad to note that most girls are indulging in fish businesses while those who got pregnant have no interest to go back to school.
“These are some of the reasons why we have taken the issue head on to ensure that no girl stays idle and that those who got pregnant and have babies go back to school,” she said.
Mzenda commended traditional leaders and Ukhondo Services Foundation (USF) for supporting the initiative.
Chairperson for Nkhwazi Primary School Mother Group, Oliga Banda expressed concern over some parents’ non commitment to support the initiative.
“We are called all sorts of names by some of such parents as we spearhead the initiative but slowly we will come out winners,” she said.
Group Village Head, Chalunda said traditional leaders would continue working hand in hand with mother groups and all stakeholders for the betterment of girls’ education in the district.
USF field facilitator, Lusayo Mwanyongo commended the stakeholders’ interest in promoting and owning the intervention.
In Thyolo, the social welfare office is urging the police and other stakeholders to collaborate with the district’s child protection committee in ending child abuse and early marriages.
Social welfare officer, Derrick Mwenda made the call during a meeting where stakeholders presented cases of child abuse that were reported in their respective offices.
“It is very important that we work hand in hand with the police, health sector and other stakeholders to protect children especially girls from defilement and child marriages,” he said.
Mwenda observed that cases of child abuse are increasing every day and urged members of the child protection group to act on any case of child abuse reported to their sectors with urgency.
He said there was need to sensitize parents and guardians on their obligation to report defilement and any form of child abuse adding that this would be the first step towards eradicating child abuse in the district.
“Most parents do not report child abuse cases or they prohibit their children from reporting when they suffer abuse for fear of jeopardising relationships and kinship.”
Mwenda advised the police to take action on such parents and guardians saying sensitizing all parents on the kind of abuse children are subjected to would be ideal way informing them of all forms of child abuse.
Child protection officer at Bvumbwe Police in Thyolo, Shadreck Mwabvi said there was need to raise awareness among parents and guardians on all forms of abuse.
“We’re determined to carry out civic education to the community more especially parents and guardians on abuses children suffer,” he said.
He reported that some parents fail to report to police cases of child abuse because of ignorance on forms of child abuse.
“We are obliged to reach the community through mobilisation campaigns to encourage any person that may suffer or witness any form of abuse to report to the police even if the victim is not their child,” he added.
Thyolo has registered 4,509 cases of teenage pregnancies, 219 cases of child marriages and 67 cases of defilement since January, 2021.