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First Lady worried with early marriages

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First Lady, Monica Chakwera, has expressed concern over the rate of early marriages in the country.

She said 50 percent of girls get married before 18 years and nine percent get married before 15 years.

Chakwera said this in Lilongwe today during the breakfast fundraising event that her organisation, Shaping Our Future Foundation held in conjunction with Plan Malawi and NBS Bank.

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She has since called for collaborated effort to keep the girl child in school as a major way of fighting the vice, indicating that the early marriages are a major contributor of overpopulation.

“Unfortunately, our land size is not increasing. Let us acknowledge that we have a ticking bomb in our hands.

“Child marriage and teenage pregnancy rates stand at 29%. This is unacceptable, it reveals that many of Malawi’s girls and mothers are banished to the chains of poverty and Gender Based Violence and will continue if nothing drastic is done,” she said.

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She said out of every 10 pregnant women, four are adolescents leading to high cases of maternal mortality and fistula among women.

She has since expressed her wish to see 80 percent of rural girls and boys having access to quality education to achieve accelerated economic growth and attainment of the socioeconomic development goals.

Chakwera said secondary school net enrolment rate stands at 16 percent, which shows that 84 percent of young people between the age of 14 and 17 are not in secondary school.

“These indicators reveal that there is wastage in the system, considering that more than half the population in Malawi are young people,” she said.

NBS Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Temwani Simwaka, said the bank was part of the fundraising event to contribute to the effort of making sure the girl child had a chance to do their education.

The first lady is the founder of Shaping Our Future Foundation with a goal of encouraging and keeping girls in school and promoting the well-being of a whole street child.

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