Initiation ceremonies are still contributing to high dropout rate of girls in schools in Machinga despite efforts to curb the vice.
Associate Professor of Research Centre for Social Research, Alister Munthali said this on Monday in Liwonde during Yes I Do (YID) Project midterm review workshop.
Munthali said girls and boys are taught and encouraged to experiment with sex during initiation ceremonies which leads them into child marriages and teenage pregnancies.
"They are told that their private parts will wilt if they don't do sex after graduating from initiation camps," he said.
He further explained that some boys and girls once they have graduated from initiation camps are involved in sex because they want to test whether they are fertile or not.
He said they learn during initiation camps how to treat their husbands among others.
Munthali however, said Initiation ceremonies are no longer in conflict with the school calendar saying the project enlightened communities to conduct them when children are on holiday.
He said community values initiation ceremonies because it is part of their culture where initiates are taught how to respect their parents and do household chores.
Coordinator for Yes I Do Project in Machinga, Joseph Maere said the project is aimed at creating a conducive environment for adolescent girls and boys to enjoy their sexual and reproductive health rights and achieve their full potential.
"We want boys and girls to be free from child marriages and teenage pregnancies. We want to withdraw 5000 adolescent girls from child marriagies and teenage pregnancy," he said.
He said the project which is running from 2016 to 2020 is being implemented in the area of Traditional Authorities Liwonde in Machinga and Njewa in Lilongwe.