Group Village Head Kawinga of Traditional Authority Kawinga in Machinga district has said that over 20 early marriages of children below the age of 18 have been ended in her village during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Kawinga said that with the closure of schools nationally, many children were married off by their parents as they lost hope that schools will reopen soon.
“Children lost hope of their education and their parents opted to marry off their children” said Kawinga
She said that this has been achieved through an initiative by Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) on ending violence against women and girls in the district.
Through its barbershop Tool Kit, a Male Engagement intervention, CRECCOM organized a training that brought together chiefs and religious leaders to fight gender-based violence which also includes early marriages.
Kawinga said since the intervention was introduced last year in the district, they have managed to reach out to over 200 women and 164 men in her 7 villages that she looks after.
The Program Officer for CRECCOM’s Male Engagement, Dan Tewesa, said that the intervention involved training community leaders on how to get boys and men to discuss issues of how to reduce gender-based violence.
CRECCOM is carrying out the intervention under the Spotlight Initiative, which is a European Union and United Nations partnership aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls.