Female students at St. Michael’s Community Day Secondary School in Traditional Authority Mwambo’s area in Zomba say not all girls are forced into early marriages.
The female students made the admission last week Friday during an interface meeting which Chilimba Women and Child Support (CWCS) organised at the school — with support from the American Let Girls Lead — to encourage girls to remain in school as well as sensitise the communities on the significance of implementing the Marriage Bill.
The female students said despite being advised to wait to mature physically and mentally before marriage, some girls get married early due to lack of role models.
The students said poverty is no defence for early marriages as some girls who intentionally drop out of school for marriage have access to bursaries.
The school’s head teacher, Geoffrey Mpacha, admitted that the trend is common in rural areas where marriage is viewed as a litmus test of maturity.
He called for a collective effort between government and other stakeholders to sensitise the communities, especially the girls themselves, to look at education as a catalyst for a bright future.
“We should ensure the girls are told that there is more joy in getting married when they are educated and independent,” he said.
On his part, CWCS director Christopher Mtima said it is everybody’s responsibility to stop girls from early marriages and advised chiefs, the clergy as well as other community leaders not to certify marriages of minors.