Contractor urged to protect girl child in his construction work

Chikwawa, The Irrigation and Water Development Office for the South has advised MESHOZI Construction Company hired to work on the multi-million kwacha Nkombedzi River dyke in Paramount Chief Lundu’s area to protect the girl child against any form of abuse by its construction staff.

Regional Irrigation and Water Development Officer for the South, Phidelia Moyo said the company should ensure that upon completion of the project, the girls’ future in the area was not affected in any way.

Government under the Malawi Floods Emergency Recovery Project (MFERP) through National Water Development Program has engaged the company to construct a K298, 651, 338.01 dyke along the Nkombedzi River.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of the construction works which took place at Sekeni Primary School which has been a victim of flash floods from Nkombedzi River, Moyo said it was sad to note that in most construction works, girls are left devastated due to early pregnancies which lead to high school dropout.

It’s our plea that the girl child be protected from any harmful activities that may come out as a result of the construction works here. It has been an issue of concern that most of the times when we have such huge construction works, workers under such projects take advantage of the vulnerability of young women and girls around the areas to entice them with money so that they sleep with them.

At the end of it all we have high school dropouts, increased early marriages and many more cases that we have to seriously avoid, said Moyo.

She further urged the contractor to ensure preserving cultural practices around the area.

Not only the above, should you also ensure respect of other people’s wives.

In most incidences there have been reported cases where during such works, marriage divorce cases become rampant because in most cases the contractor and the employees interfere in other people’s marriages, she added.

Moyo said there was also a need to erect HIV and Aids related messages at the construction camp site as well as observe child labour laws.

At the same time give job opportunities to communities around here except those that require special expertise. And lets strive for a common goal which is to have the dyke completed as well as avoid stealing from the construction site, indicated Moyo.

On her part, Chikwawa District Social Welfare Officer, Rosemary Mahata said there were several issues happening around girls welfare whenever there were such activities taking place in an area adding that in most cases those doing the work were considered to have money and as a result there mushroom small scale businesses within the area.

Mahata said such incidences attract more girls who visit the place for site seeing as well as conducting the businesses.

Although this is the case, it’s my call to girls to realize their role. Girls should be responsible by knowing what they want in life and not easily taken up by such short term activities. We have several structures on the ground working to protect the girl child but they can’t do enough without the girls themselves realizing their potential, said Mahata

MESHOZI Construction Company Director, Lucius Dzimbiri said they were ready to embark on the project while calling on the communities to collaborate with them.

We will do our job professionally and since we are new to the environment here, we will rely more on assistance from the local communities who should be able to support us throughout the construction work, said Dzimbiri

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA