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256 girls rescued from early marriage

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District officials in Nkhata Bay have rescued 256 girls from marriage this year, earning kudos from Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Minister Patricia Kaliati.

Nkhata Bay District Director of Planning and Development Isaac Mkandawire acknowledged that the district has been facing the problem of early marriages.

He, however, blamed gender-based violence for the problem, saying some girls are forced into marriage.

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“Now we have made strides in reducing cases of GBV owing it to, among other things, the Spotlight Initiative we have been implementing. We introduced the intervention in 2019 and will wind it up in 2023.

“We are happy that 256 girls have been rescued from early marriages. This is because traditional leaders formulated bylaws. Community gender technical working groups have also been formed and are spearheading the fight against GBV in communities. We will continue to capacitate them,” he said.

Kaliati has since lauded district officials in the lakeshore district.

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Speaking when she visited the district, where she appreciated efforts being made to address problems associated with GBV, she said girls and women themselves can avoid falling victim to GBV by knowing their partners well.

“When courting, people should have enough time to learn about each other. That way, they will know if their partners are likely to turn violent or not.

“Again, many youths are taken away when they see their peers getting married. As a result, they get into marriages that do not last because they did not take time to know their partners,” she said.

Kaliati said Nkhata Bay officials should ensure that all girls that are in early marriages are rescued.

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