By Dorah Banda, MANA
Nkhata Bay District Council has blamed the district’s mountainous terrain as a setback in curbing child marriages.
In an interview, Nkhata Bay District Social Welfare Officer, Lickson Ng’ambi said his office faces challenges to reach communities.
“In 2019, we only recorded 18 cases in the district, which is lower than 26 which were registered in 2018. To us, this reduction is a concern because it is not a true reflection of cases of child marriages in the district.
“There are a lot of child marriages happening in the district, but we don’t capture them due to lack of accessibility to reach people in different areas because of the difficult terrain. This is coupled with shortage of child protection workers,” he said.
Ng’ambi said his office has engaged other organisations under Spotlight Initiative to combat the malpractice.
“We are conducting awareness campaigns under Spotlight Initiative and we hope things will change soon.
“We expect many cases to be reported using local structures like child protection communities,” Ng’ambi said.
He encouraged other organisations to work hand in hand with the district council towards the initiative.
A 2014 survey conducted by UNICEF revealed that the prevalence of child marriage in the district was at 37 per cent.