Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco) has challenged the media to increase awareness and advocacy for policy makers to take appropriate actions that can contribute to end child marriages. Yoneco programme manager for media advocacy, networking and innovations Charles Banda made the call on Friday when the organisation oriented journalists from Mchinji District on More Than Brides Project aimed at ending child marriages in the district. Yoneco is implementing the project in traditional authorities (T/A’s) Zulu in Mchinji and Makanjira and Namavi in Mangochi.
Mchinji and Mangochi are among the districts in the country where child marriages are said to be rampant according to statistics. In Mangochi, over 56 percent of adolescent girls are married before their 18th birthday due to harmful cultural practices which are said to be fueling the malpractice. According to a 2006 report by UNICEF, child marriage is common in girls (50%) than boys (7%) and that married uneducated girls are likely to have a weaker command of resources compared to men.