First Lady Esther Lungu has observed that child marriage derails the development of every nation as it involves both girls and boys who are the future leaders.
Mrs. Lungu however noted that much emphasis is on the girl child because the impact of child marriage is more traumatic on girls.
She said this is why more concerted efforts are needed to ensure that the vice is combated in order to give the girl child an opportunity to grow and contribute to the development of their respective communities and countries.
The First Lady made these remarks during her presentation on the activities that her office is undertaking to address child marriage and early pregnancies in Zambia at the official opening of the national conference on ending child marriage and early pregnancies in Pemba City in Mozambique.
Mrs. Lungu pointed out that among other activities, her office is working tirelessly to empower women especially in rural areas where child marriages and early pregnancies are more rampant in order to ensure that more girls in various households are sponsored in education.
Mrs. Lungu who expressed gratitude for being given a platform to share Zambia’s experiences and approaches in ending child marriage has since called for the two countries to work together to eliminate the vice in both countries.
And Ministry of Gender Permanent Secretary Edwidge Mutale says government is making tremendous efforts in ensuring that child marriage in Zambia is curbed by among others putting in place line ministries that have greatly contributed to fighting child marriages in the country.
She further disclosed that the Zambian government has procured a K65 million loan from the World Bank which will see 75,000 women in the country will be empowered and 14, 000 girls sent back to school.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the 75,000 women will be empowered because they are able to sustain the process by paying for other children within their various households.
And Mozambique First Lady Isaura Nyusi noted that her country is among countries in Africa that has a high prevalence of early marriages.
Mrs. Nyusi said the situation has prompted her to come up with a three years project aimed at eliminating child marriage and early pregnancies.
“According to our latest Demographic Health Survey 14% of girls between the ages of 20-24 got married before 15 years old while 48% of girls got married before the age of 18.