Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)volunteers have asked traditional authorities in Chitipa to formulate by-laws to fight gender-based violence (GBV) in the district.
Speaking on Saturday in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwenimisuku in the district,the group’s secretary Elizabeth Mtambo said some parents continue to marry off their children before they attain the age of 18.
She said: “However, as people entrusted to safeguard the rights of women and children, we have so far withdrawn seven girls from early marriages. They are back in school now.
“To end the vice, we urge traditional leaders to formulate by-laws to punish parents who marry off their children.”
Mtambo also blamed some cultural practices for fuelling child marriages.
In an interview, T/A Mwenimisuku agreed with the group on the need to formulate by-laws and abolish some cultural practices.
“As a custodian of culture, I will meet my fellow chiefs and area development committee members to see how best we can formulate the by-laws,” he said.
CCJP project officer Deodatus Muriya expressed hope that by 2022 the district will have reduced GBV cases.
He said: “Karonga Diocese of the Catholic Church is implementing Rights of Women and Girls Project that seeks to promote women’s rights in the district so they contribute to the socio-economic development of their areas.
“So, we want them to be protected because if a girls future is compromised at a tender stage, it will prevent them from participating in development.”
The three-year project is being funded by Misereor-Germany to the tune of 204 000 euros (about K205 million).