Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Friday declared that the fight against child marriages must start inside the family, where the children are living.
Speaking at a rally in the Chidzolomondo administrative post, in the western province of Tete, Nyusi said that families and communities must take responsibility for stopping child marriages.
At the rally a local teacher asked Nyusi to ensure that the First Lady's Office expands its campaign against child marriages to Macanga district, where Chidzolomondo is located.
“It's good you raised this question of child marriages”, the President replied. “The parents are here, the uncles are here, and the community leaders are here. Everybody's here. You should all work to prevent child marriages from happening”.
Nyusi recalled that women frequently complain that they are cared for by male staff in hospitals and in maternity wards. But he wondered how enough women could become doctors or midwives when child marriages cut short their educational opportunities.
Some of those who promote child marriage were attending the rally, he added, and he addressed them specifically.
“Let the girls study!”, he urged. “Nobody has to come from Maputo (i.e. from the First Lady's Office) to solve this case”. Success in fighting against child marriages must involve the joint efforts of families, communities, civil society and the government.
Nonetheless, Nyusi promised that he will channel the teacher's request to the First Lady's Office, but he suggested that in the first instance the matter should be dealt with at district and provincial level.