The Government of the Republic of Zambia has informed delegates to the Nairobi Summit the International Conference on Population and Development ([email protected]) that the country has adopted a comprehensive response to ending child marriage through multi-sectoral planning and implementation of interventions.
Minister of National Development Planning, Honourable Alexander Chiteme, who is leading the Zambian delegation on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of Zambia, said the comprehensive response has brought together all key sectors such as education, health, social services and justice sector. Hon. Chiteme said education includes life skills for both in and out of school adolescents and young people, health includes assess to sexual reproductive health information and services, while social services include social cash transfers and economic empowerment and livelihood interventions.
“It is worth noting that Zambia was one of the first countries in Africa to develop a National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage and this national strategy also has a costed National Plan of Action. Further, we have a national communication and advocacy strategy.
The formulation of these policy documents was led by the Government with support from the UN system particularly UNFPA and UNICEF,” Hon. Chiteme said. “These sectors each bring their comparative advantage at national and sub-national levels.”
He informed the delegates that the Zambian Government and other stakeholders work together to ensure traditional and religious leaders, parents, traditional marriage counsellors, young people, adolescents, children and everyone in communities was reached with information on the dangers of child marriage and other harmful practices and the benefits of staying longer in school and delaying marriage.
Hon. Chiteme said keeping girls in school until completion of secondary school and enhance their potential and capacities through tertiary education and other forms of skills training including technical and vocational training was very important.