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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Save the girl child, save the nation

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The rate at which girls are dropping out of school in Nkhata Bay District due to escalating physical and sexual abuse is, to say the least, disturbing, shocking and unacceptable.

Surely, there is need for drastic action that should translate into long lasting solutions before it is too late to salvage something from the current hopeless situation.

For starters, a survey which non-governmental organisation, Plan Malawi, conducted recently in the Northern Region lakeshore district puts the dropout rate at an alarming 83 percent.

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The monthly dropout rate in the district is pegged at 32 and 45 girls are abused monthly.

And it is sad that this is not an isolated phenomenon because a few days ago, we also reported that 14 girls from one school were impregnated by boys from the same school in the district.

At the heart of all this are all forms of abuse targeting the vulnerable girl ranging from physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

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It seems girls are the most endangered species in the district, and the culture of secrecy that sweep all this dirt under the carpet is not helping matters either, leaving girls with no refuge at all.

It is high time the communities in Nkhata Bay stood above this harmful culture of silence and report cases of abuse of the girls to the police.

This has to start from the parents all the way to the traditional leaders, teachers and the law enforcers.

It is common knowledge that when politicians speak, people listen and action is taken quickly, hence legislators in the district must quickly mount a serious campaign outlining measures for protecting girls in the district.

Surely, parents who do not report such cases of abuses deserve stiff punishment.

Nkhata Bay has many active members of parliament such as Emily ChintHu Phiri and Grace Chiumia, who are holding such positions partly because they had an opportunity to go to school.

Instead of talking politics all the time, the Nkhata Bay MPs, for once, should unite and speak with one strong voice and ensure that the girl is safe from the vultures.

They say when you educate a girl child you have educated an entire nation, and put in reverse, what is happening in Nkhata Bay is killing the nation.

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