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African girls in street parade in Lusaka, Zambia PHOTO: Samuel Chibaya/IM

Tackling Child Marriage in Zambia

Published 3 September 2018

“Before I went into marriage I thought all was well in marriage and I thought there was nothing to lack. When my mother came to discover that I was seeing a young man who had promised to marry me, she became so bitter with me and was not impressed with my behaviour but unfortunately I decided to stop school and I went on to marry myself off to this young man.”

“Grace” a 16 -year girl of Mukonko village in Chieftainess Mwenda narrated her story. She went on to say “thanks to NGOCC who while working together with some few individuals of my community has taken me and my baby out of the Child Marriages and taken me back to my mother.”

This is in reference to the project of ending child marriages NGOCC is implementing in Chibaye, Mulala, Katuta and Mwenda chiefdoms. The goal of the project is to reduce child marriages cases by 30 in every 100 in Chibaye, Mulala,  Katuta and Mwenda chiefdoms by 2018.

She says "I was helped to come out of that marriage on 26th January 2018 by the group working with NGOCC and with the education I received from NGOCC on the dangers of child marriages and my personal grave experience I decided to cooperate and moved out of that   marriage back to my mother. Although my family is a poor family, here I am now having at least two meals a day which was not possible when I was with the young man who married me.”

The girl further says “Thanks to NGOCC who now has identified me to be among those girls withdrawn from child marriages and about to be supported with school fees, uniforms, book, pens and pencils. I am now going to be back in school.”

In the mean-time the   village committee has already secured a place at a nearby school and the school management who understands well the GRZ Re-entry policy has already welcomed the idea of having girls withdrawn from child marriages back in school.

“With this support from NGOCC, I will make sure that the chance I have gotten of being back in school, will not be a waste of time.    There is nothing to look to apart from concentrating with my education so that I live a good life, supporting myself and my child when I get employed after completing my school.” The girl concluded her story with the following words “I want to be one of the role models in my community and work together with NGOCC in ending child    marriage.” Story reported by Kizito Chalwe-NGOCC

Part of the girls street parade PHOTO: Samuel Chibaya/IM