WOMEN for change (WFC) says it is saddened by the recent report in Ngabwa district where a 13 year old girl was married off. WFC say child marriages are a stumbling block to the development process of the country. WOMEN for change (WFC) has called on traditional leaders and community members to retrieve a thirteen year old girl who was recently married off in the newly created Ngabwe district of Central Province.
Reacting to a story carried by Muvi Tv where a thirteen year old was married off in Ngabwa district, WFC executive director Lumbe Siyanga her organisation was saddened by the reported event in Ngabwa district.
Ms. Siyanga has urged provincial and traditional leaders as well as members of the community to retrieve the girl from the reported married adding that child marriages are a stumbling block to the development process of the country.
She added, “When a child who is below the age of 18 years is married off, chances of completing her education are very slim … such will not make her contribute to national development.”
Ms. Siyanga explained that the said thirteen year old girl due to her age is likely to face gender based violence (GBV) and that she is not physically and psychologically ready to bear children.
She said the girl is also at risk of facing complications during and after pregnancy.
Speaking in an interview with the Lusaka Star, the WFC Executive Director said the purported marriage should be reported to the nearby Women for Change Centre in Central Province while urging Chief Kayesha to take necessary action over the matter.
Ms. Siyanga said the law restricting young girls under the age of 18 years should quickly be enacted as a way of protecting young girls from being married off.
“We welcome the proposed policy that the government wants to enact where only a person that is 18 years and above can get married,’’ she said.
Ms. Siyanga further said community members as well as traditional leaders should be enlightened and made aware that early marriages are stumbling block to personal, local as well as national development.