Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia’s Church and Society Community Action Against Poverty programme manager Paul Mvula has expressed concern with the rising cases of gender-based violence (GBV) in Chitipa.
He expressed the sentiments on Saturday during the dissemination of preliminary findings on GBV cases in Traditional Authority (T/A) Nthalire.
Mvula said they found that girls in the hard-to-reach area continue to get married before completing their studies.
“We established that some teachers allegedly entice girls into relationships. This was reported in two community day secondary schools in the area,” he said.
Mvula also cited a Standard Four learner at Chiungumile Primary School who left school for marriage.
“This is sad because government is trying hard to ensure that more girls continue with their education to tertiary level,” he said.
In his remarks, group village head Chikunguweya said they formulated by-laws to fight GBV, but they are not being enforced.
“Some village heads do not enforce the by-laws because some of the cases involve their relatives,” he said.
However, the chief said he will punish any village head who will fail to protect girls.
On her part, Chitipa District gender officer Ireen Mwenelupembe expressed disappointment with the situation in T/A Nthalire.
She said: “My office and with other stakeholders will intervene as child marriages are a problem in the whole district.
“In remote areas such as Nthalire, GBV victims suffer in silence.”
Mwenelupembe also said her office plans to install suggestion boxes in schools to enhance reporting on violence against girls.
With funding from Transform Aid International, Church and Society is running a five-year Community Action Against Poverty Project in the district.