15 October 2018
Breaking News
Friday, 23 March 2018 14:37

‘Mother groups retaining girls in schools’

Written by  Rodney Majawa
The girl child attends classes together with boys - File Photo The girl child attends classes together with boys - File Photo

Blantyre, March 23, 2018 :  By 2017, at least one for every four girl-children before attaining the age of 18 in southern region districts were being forced into unplanned marriages for economic gains by guardians.

Southern Region Community Policing Coordinator, Senior Superintendent (Snr. Supt.) Alex Simenti disclosed this to MANA in an interview that mother groups alongside his active policing committees in the region, are relentlessly working in retaining the girl-child into school as forced marriages are successfully being discontinued.

“By 2017, at least 1 for every 4 girl-children were being forced into unplanned marriages propelled by some irresponsible and selfish biological parents and guardians for their personal gains.

“For instance, by December last year, in Neno alone, 28 girl-children had had their marriages discontinued and all of them have since been readmitted to school through the ‘access and retention’ initiative which is being boosted by well sensitized mother groups alongside our active community policing committees among other key notably known promoters in the region who are working with stakeholders in bringing back the girl-child into school,” Snr. Supt. told MANA.

Snr. Supt. Simenti further clarified that “Aspire CRECCOM’ programme under the auspices of the World Vision Malawi aims at inspiring the girl-child and contributing effectively in bringing back the girl-child into school in the region.

The law enforcer expressed high optimism that if the ongoing venture continues to flourish at the pace it is being advocated for, ‘access and retention’ initiative amongst girl-children will effectively freed them from the ongoing forced and unplanned marriages.

Snr. Supt Simenti said just like the other country’s regions; access to bursaries and cash transfers through relevant and appropriate authorities like the District Commissioner among other identified private sectors grant such financial and material services to well identified girl-children to ensure that they remain in school so that one day they contribute effectively and productively to the country’s social economic developments.

On her part, Joyce Symon of Chimwankhunda Day Secondary School disclosed that she was forced into unplanned marriage by her parental guardian (name withheld) of Ntetete Village in Traditional Authority Somba in the district simply for his personal economical gains.

However, due to the ongoing mother groups and community policing committees’ interventions, Symon is now freed from the ‘bondage’ and has since gone back to school.

“Indeed, my passing grades have since been improved even much better and this enhances my dream and vision of becoming a ‘real’ medical doctor, but I would not do myself justice if my ‘smooth’ and active classroom participation could be highlighted in the absence of the school’s friendly teaching staff and of course well sensitized fellow learners for welcoming her ‘back into class,” she said.


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