— Lack of boarding schools contributing to early marriages – YWCA

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The Young Women Christian Association ( YWCA ) in Mongu District of Western Province says lack of adequate schools and boarding facilities have led to increased early marriages among School going children in the province.

YWCA Regional Coordinator Sandra Maputa  says only on three Secondary Schools namely Holy Cross Girls Secondary, Kambule Technical School and Saint John’s Secondary which she said are not government schools.

Mrs. Maputa noted that limited number of school spaces and high tuition fees in the  existing Secondary Schools in the District  has  contributed greatly to a girl child dropping out of school due to lack of funds.

She also disclosed that initiation ceremonies for young girls have also been a contributing factor to early marriages adding that once a girl child goes through the initiation ceremony the interest of going
back to school becomes the thing of the past adding that marriage becomes a priority to such a one.

Meanwhile Mrs. Maputa said the Organization is working tirelessly under the re-entry policy in sensitizing Schools, Parents, Traditional Leaders and Communities at large on the dangers of early marriages and the importance of going back to school.

She added that parents should relent from using their girl children as the source of income, stressing that education plays an important role in poverty reduction at household level.

And Mrs. Maputa has appealed to government to increase boarding facilities and bursaries for vulnerable children in order for to have access to education for a better and bright future.

The organization has so far sensitized 7 communities namely Namushkendi, Mutuwambwa, Ikulwe, Siiwa, Makapaila, Mutemwa and Bethlem on early marriages since October last year.