Govt calls for end to child marriages

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Chiefs Affairs Deputy Minister, Josephine Limata, has called for more sensitization on the need to end child marriages in Zambia.

Ms Limata says child marriages are detrimental to the development of the girl child and therefore need to be ended.

Speaking in Lusaka when she received a US$1.6 million cheque on behalf of UNICEF meant to fight child marriages, Ms Limata said parents, especially in rural areas, must appreciate the benefits of educating girls as opposed to marrying them off.

And Canadian High Commission Head of Office, Kumar Gupta, said forced child marriage is a widespread harmful practice that threatens the lives and future of girls and young women around the world.

Mr Gupta said the practice denies girls the rights, disrupts their education and severely jeopardizing their health.

He said ending early marriages will empower women and girls to contribute to the development and prosperity of their communities.

Mr Gupta said the Canadian government has made ending early and forced marriages a foreign policy and development priority.

He disclosed that Canada is among countries that support a global target to end child, early and forced marriage by 2030 as a post 2015 development agenda.

Mr Gupta commended Zambia’s strong leadership internationally, regionally and domestically in ending child marriages.

He said the money will be channelled through UNICEF over a period of two years.

And acting UNICEF Country Representative, Luula Mariano, thanked the Canadian government for the gesture, saying it will help to brighten the future of girls in the country.

Dr Mariano said the funds will support communication in Chiefdoms around the country in a consultative process of ending child marriages.