Butiama — FORMER First Lady of Mozambique and South Africa, Ms Graca Machel has appealed for immediate elimination of child marriage in Butiama District and other parts of Mara region.
Ms Graca made the appeal on Tuesday when she visited Nyamisisi Primary School in Butiama District where she held talks with out of school children who had been enrolled with Complementary Basic Education in Tanzania (COBET) programme, popularly known as Memkwa in Kiswahili.
Child marriage, she said, is a bad tradition that cut short educational dreams of young girls and puts their lives at risk. She urged Butiama officials, including community leaders, to become serious in ending the problem of child marriage.
Ms Graca who is also the founder of Graca Machel Trust said her institution is committed to continue working with Mara Alliance and the Mara Regional Government to make Butiama a role model place that is free from child marriage and other bad traditions that affect children.
She counselled out of school children who have started attending classes under COBET programme to make good use of the opportunity so that apart from getting basic education, they can also acquire skills which will be helpful to engage in productive activities.
Butiama District Commissioner (DC) Mrs Annarose Nyamubi said currently there are 28 out of school children attending COBET classes at Nyamisisi primary alone.
A study had identified 11,666 out of school children who needed to undergo COBET programme under the ambitious project being implemented by the Graca Machel Trust, Mara Alliance and the Mara Regional Government.
Findings of the study conducted by Economic Social Research Foundation (ESRF) in three districts were revealed on Monday this week during a crucial stakeholders meeting also attended by Mrs Machel, Bishop Msonganzila and the Acting Mara Regional Commissioner, Dr Vincent Naano.
The study shows that 33 percent of the children were from Bunda, 31 percent (Tarime), and 10 percent from Musoma.
Graca Machel Trust, Mara Alliance and the Mara Regional Government are working hard to reintegrate the children into schools, thanks to Mrs Machel and others who support the initiative.
The project aims to reintegrate 20,000 out of school children aged seven to 17 back to school under COBET programme.