In the wake of escalating levels of early marriages in Zambia, the Non-Governmental Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has embarked on a community project dubbed ending child marriages in Luapula and Northern provinces to arrest the vice, reports Pan African Radio Journalist Hermit Hachilonde.
Speaking during the launch of the project at chief Mulala’s palace in Northern Province on Wednesday the 18th may, 2016, NGOCC Executive Director Engwase Mwale said her Organization has been prompted to initiate this move in Northern and Luapula provinces due to the high number of girls married off at a tender age and for a song especially in mulala, katuta and chibaye chiefdoms according to the research findings by the NGOCC towards the end of the year 2015.
Ms. Mwale said the teenage pregnancies rate in the named three chiefdoms is around 87 percent which is alarmingly high a trend she described as a source of grave concern.
She noted that child marriages and pregnancies have significantly contributed to high maternal mortality rate in Zambia.
“It is undisputable fact that early child marriages and pregnancies have contributed to high maternal mortality rate as girls who get pregnant at an early age are likely to die at child birth” Engwase Mwale said
And Ms. Mwale director also observed with sadness that early child marriages have hampered the education progression of a girl child in Zambia which has in turn negatively affected women’s participation in decision making positions.
She therefore urged traditional leaders to rise to the occasion by taking a leading role in eliminating the scourge and teenage pregnancies in Zambia.
“Your royal highness it is our expectation as NGOCC that is indeed you shall be the champion of ending child marriages in this chiefdom” she said
Speaking during the same function, sub chief mulala vowed to fight child marriages head on in his chiefdom.
The Chief further regretted the prevalence of the vice in his chiefdom adding that cancer has continued to rob girl children of their childhood hence the urgent need to address the growing trend.
“I have powers to involve myself into ending child marriages and I will arrest them just like I did to others already” he said