By: Mustarff Komanje-Contributor
Balaka debate club has urged traditional leaders in the district to take a leading role in safeguarding school going children from unwanted pregnancies and early marriages during the COVID 19 school break.
The call comes as a reaction to recent district report indicating that over 300 primary school girls have felt pregnant while a total of 297 boys and girls are said to be married since the closure of schools due to the pandemic.
The club has however interfaced with traditional leaders, civil society organisations, District education management and youth with an aim of addressing the issue.
According to programmes officer John Majawa, the club is looking forward to see the safety of children amidst COVID 19
Majawa also vowed to reach all the corners of the districts with the campaign despite limited resources.
“we want to create a safe Balaka for these children while waiting for the reopening of schools, we will try go as far as hard to reach areas with our messages, although with limited resources we will try our best” said Majawa. penalties shall be given to the families found in the wrong side of the said bylaws.
Mpulula also said that it is a joint responsibility for chiefs and parents to make sure no pregnancy and early marriages cases are recorded in the area henceforth.
Speaking at the meeting Group Village Headman Mpulula said chiefs should set some bylaws and
“we need to make sure that those who have already been impregnated are enough, as a leader I expect a change but for that to be possible all of us chiefs, parents even the children themselves have a responsibility in taking care of themselves,” she explains.
District Education Management through its representative McDonald Sibu described the situation as sad and worrisome to the ministry of education hence it needs much attention.
Sibu pleaded with the chiefs and parents to monitor children on introduced radio learning programmes which the ministry has introduced as way of keeping the children active.
Sibu also recommended Balaka Debate Club for the initiative, while calling for more organisations and well wishers to support the government in protecting children as well as provision of radios to the needy.
“some have already started, we have seen Chifundo project and Cecilia Youth Club distributing radios to needy communities and we expect more support from well wishers to support the initiative either with materials or civic education and awareness” Sibu.
Cecilia Youth Center was also represented at the meeting and according to Blessings Mphamba an educator, most young people are yet to understand the reason why they are not going to school at the moment hence they are involving themselves in immoral activities.
Mphamba applauded Balaka Debate Club for organising the meeting, saying more meetings of such kind will enable school going children to understand the school break and at the same time safeguarding themselves during the period.