Caritas Zambia Branch in Mkushi District has bemoaned the rampant incidences of early marriages in Chilomo area of Upper Lunsemfwa Ward.
Caritas Zambia Chilomo Branch Representative, Shadreck Chibwe said this during a crop field day that was organized by Lake Agriculture Company.
Mr Chibwe said the high prevalence of early marriages are causing concern amongst civil society groups that deal with this social scourge.
He said that there is a need for intensive sensitization in the communities to highlight the challenges that young girls experience during childbearing.
He said people need to know that marriages are outlawed by the State and that there are stiff penalties for guardians who are found to be marrying off their children before they reach 18 years age.
“There could be several factors involved in the high rate of early marriages in this area, but sensitization is needed as a starting point towards addressing this problem’, he said.
Mr Chibwe observed that much of this problem is hinged on ignorance of the laws related to the problem, as well as factors related to household poverty.
Meanwhile, Chilomo Headman, Albert Chisenga of Kashimba village acknowledged the high rate of early marriages, adding that Traditional leadership should work hand in hand with civil society in efforts to curb this problem.
Mr Chisenga said that he is gratified to learn that some civil society groups had come forward to work with respective Headmen in the villages, saying that much progress can be recorded from these joint efforts.
“As Village Headmen we are pleased to learn that there are civil society groups that are proposing to partner with us in addressing this issue of early marriages in this area”, he commented.