Lilongwe — World Vision Malawi (WVM) has reiterated its stand to boldly speak with strong voice on matters of violence against children in the country.
WVM Director of Programmes, Charles Chimombo said this Tuesday at Crossroads Hotel at the opening of a four day Violence Against Children (VAC) to ending Child Marriages Campaign Design workshop.
He said various stakeholders need to work together in protecting children from all forms of violence's within communities.
"Our efforts will bring in the lives of the Children we serve. Let us all seize the opportunity and do all we can to end the vice," Chimombo explained.
He said it was pleasing to note that government is committed to address issues affecting children in the country by formulating laws that protect them.
Chimombo added that to end child marriages and many other abuses children are subjected to, there is need to ensure that laws are harmonized.
" We need to look at policies that are in contradiction and putting our children at the receiving end. We need to safeguard the plight of children provide providing necessary support to them," WMV Director of Programmes pointed out.
Chimombo explained that the workshop has being designed to develop a plan on how best to work with communities in dealing with child marriages.
" The statistics for our country are a disgrace. Malawi has one of the World's highest rates of child marriages. Half of the girls are married before the age 18, many because their families are too poor to support them," he noted.
Chimombo said teen pregnancies have contributed to 20 to 30 per cent of maternal deaths in the country and only about 45 per cent of the girls remain in school past grade eight.
He hoped that participants would come up with plans which would be effective in ending child marriages in most communities.
Chief Education Officer for Basic Education in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Esnart Chapomba noted early marriages and teen pregnancies have contributed negatively to drop out rates among many girls in the country.
She said government should be commended for raise the marriage age from 16 to 18 to ensure that girls are protected from being encourage to leave school.
"We need to enforce the law so that more girls are retained in school so that the issue of dropout rate can easily be reduced," Chaponda viewed.
She said girls need to be encouraged to view school as an essential tool to their development at household levels.
WVM appointed Inkosi Kachindamoto of Dedza as its ambassador to ending child marriages in the country
The workshop has drawn participation of WVM District Managers, WVM Staff members, government officials, Faithful Organizations, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Media.