PETER MALASHA writes
Early marriages are community problems in rural communities, Panos Institute of Southern Africa (PANOS) programmes manager Nevias Siantombo has said.
Mr. Siantombo said this in an interview after winding up Child’s rights sensitisation dialogue meeting organised by Panos Institute Southern Africa held at Mkushi Council chamber.
“Government is doing its part. Also parents and community structures have to play their role because sometimes when these things happen in communities some households would want to sit on these issues.
“We bear children but those children do not belong to us, they belong to the State. And the state has come up with laws to protect the children because they are the future of every nation,” he said.
He said child marriages has been a challenge for communities for a long time and should come to an end.
The programme manager said government and its partners were doing everything possible to ensure that the vice was eradicated.
Mr. Siantombo said, Panos as an organization, was working with Districts Child Protection Committees who were on the ground sensitising communities specifically parents and traditional leaders working together to come up with strategies and see how the vice could be ended.
Adding that parents were being sensitised on effects of early marriages and that they were violating children’s rights because they have rights to childhood and be protected from the harm that comes with early marriages.
He further urged parents not to marry off children at tender ages for economic benefit due to poverty as an excuse.
Mr. Siantombo called for intensifying of the campaign against early marriages so as to free the communities from the vice.