Mchinji: Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) has blamed parents’ resistance to allow the youth to access Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, which leads to high early and unplanned pregnancies among young girls in Mchinji.
Speaking Monday at Mkumba school ground in Traditional Authority Zulu during sensitisation meeting on SRHR, YONECO Project Officer for ‘Marriage No Child’s Play’ in Mchinji, Tionge Banda said culture and religion bar parents from allowing their children to access SRHR services, particularly because of the belief that sex is for elderly people, not for the young ones.
It is high time parents change this mind-set if we are to win the fight against early and unplanned pregnancies and child marriages in the district, she said.
Through the project which is funded by SIMAVI in Netherlands, Banda said YONECO would like to increase access to knowledge and improvement on SRHR among young people and also to increase and strengthen child protection system by engaging key stakeholders.
In his remarks, Group Village headman Mkumba hailed the initiative, saying it would help in coming up with holistic measures for the safety of young children.
He said it is also the duty of local leaders to make sure that young people in their areas are allowed to access SRHR with the belief that it would reduce early and unplanned pregnancies and child marriages.
Child marriages are on the increase in Mchinji and according to recent United Nations report, it is expected that by 2030 50 per cent of the young children in Malawi would have been married at a tender age.
The meeting brought together local leaders, religious leaders, parents and the youth.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA