By Dorica Mtenje:
Nellie Matewere, a child marriage victim has embarked on a nationwide campaign against the malpractice by organizing trainings for girls and young women.
Nellie who is also Miss Africa Washington State said this on Tuesday on the sidelines of a virtual meeting in Lilongwe.
She said statistics show that 36 percent of women in malawi are married to men 15 years older to them which put most of them at risk of abuse.
According to a research, she indicated that these marriages are due to early pregnancies.
“This campaign will help to shape the community mindset on the effects of child marriages. As we all know that due to Covid-19 pandemic, this year we have registered a lot of early pregnancies after the closure of schools as a prevention measure.
The campaign will target those who have the passion to volunteer and become ambassadors against child marriages with about 90 percent of them already under Girls Empowerment and Mentorship project.
Currently, about 20 girls have already been trained as ambassadors who will be involved in the roll out on the campaign.
According to Oxfam, the town of Phalombe alone has registered 2,784 cases of teen pregnancies and 800 child marriages since March when schools closed.
The organization also identified an increase in cases in Machinga-east Malawi, where there are 418 teen pregnancies and 285 child marriages.
In Mangochi district 7,274 teen pregnancies have been recorded.
Immideate past Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr Charles Mwansambo said in 2020 there has been an increase in pregnancies between the ages of ten and 19 compared to the previous year.
“That’s 29 out of every 100 pregnancies in young ones between the ages of ten and 19 and if you look at the same period this year in 2020, that has increased to 35% which means that out of every 100 pregnancies 35 are between the ages of 10 and 19,” he said.