— Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative calls intensified fight against early marriages

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Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative calls intensified fight against early marriages

Lusaka, July 31st, 2014, ZANIS —  An international non-governmental organisation working to lessen the devastating psychosocial impact of poverty, conflict, HIV/AIDS among children and youths has called for concerted efforts in addressing the challenges fueling early marriages and child sexual abuse in Zambia.

Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) country director, Kelvin Ngoma says as Zambia moves on after 50 years of self rule, there was need to invest in ways that reverse the challenges facing the children and the youth in the country.

"We need to start working towards addressing the cause of the numerous teenage pregnancies characterising our school going children, addressing the challenges that are fueling early marriages, dealing with child sexual abuse comprehensively," Mr Ngoma said.

ZANIS reports that the REPSSI country director said this in a statement released in Lusaka, today.

All these things, Mr Ngoma said, required a planned investment and a skilled workforce.

He said this at the ceremony for the graduation of 130 trainees in the Community Based Work with the Children and Youth certificate course held at Kitwe’s Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation (MEF) , yesterday.

The training programme drew students from various parts of the country and was co-sponsored by REPSSI and the University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZM).

Mr Ngoma said the graduation of the 130 trainees were coming at a backdrop of the numerous challenges that the country, communities and families were faced with, most of which affect the health growth and development of young people.

"Each day we listen to news, we are greeted with headlines that reinforce hopelessness and fearfulness- sexual violence, adverse poverty, neglect, early marriages and rampant teenage pregnancies.

"We often tell of a story of desperation, of lack of financial, moral and human capital to respond to the various needs that require attention," Mr Ngoma said.

He said while there was in place a good education and service system, the country still faced limitations in the area of the education that was tailored to addressing the real needs of people.

This was regarding helping the nation deal with the root cause of such vices as economic and exploitation, easy access to social services among many others.

Mr Ngoma cited some of the compounding factors to this as the HIV/AIDS, poverty and conflict which he said had diverse social and economic effects that leave a trail of challenges often left in the hands of unskilled people to deal with.

"We therefore are in an urgent need of a resource pool, well-rounded and responsive enough to deal with the effect of the triple crisis of HIV, poverty and conflict," Mr Ngoma said.