By John Chihana,MANA
Traditional Authority (TA) Mwenewenya of Chitipa has expressed concern over high numbers of teenage pregnancies in the district saying the situation is hindering youth involvement in economic activities.
He was speaking during commemoration of African Youth Day on Monday at Wenya in Chitipa.
In his speech, he said the country could achieve tangible economic growth if the youth are not faced with challenges that affect their contributions towards economic development, like unwanted pregnancies and drug and substance abuse.
“The youth need to realise that the country is dependent on their contributions towards economic development so they have to stay away from behaviours that limit their involvement in development.”
“The biggest challenge I have seen has to do with teenage pregnancies as many teens are getting pregnant. It is my plea to all chiefs and stakeholders in the district to put in extra effort to arrest the situation,” Mwenewenya said.
District Youth Officer (DYO) for Chitipa, Jessie Mwansambo urged the youth to adopt an entrepreneurial mind-set in order to improve their livelihoods.
“Most of the youths in the district are unemployed so we are urging them to go through vocational training so that they can be entrepreneurs and be able to employ themselves as well as create jobs for others,” she said.
Chitipa Youth Network Chairperson Luis Mhango urged his fellow youths to join youth clubs where they could share ideas on entrepreneurship saying the clubs make it easy for the youth to receive support from government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
In 2019, the African Union set the month of November as an African Youth commemoration month under the theme, One Million by 2021: count me in, Youths be an entrepreneur, and Chitipa district observed the day on November 30 with support from Plan International.
A Maternal Health Report at Wenya Health Centre presented at the event, showed that between January and September 2019, the Centre registered 103 pregnant girls of ages 16 to 19 out of 373 pregnancies, representing 28 percent teenage pregnancy rate in the area.