Nchelenge District Educations Standards Officer Mr Nelius Phiri says the coming of World Vision in the area has helped to eradicate harmful vices like early marriage in communities.
He said poverty and high illiteracy levels have caused young girls to force themselves into early marriage. He said parents are also major contributors to the high levels of early marriages because they are marrying off their daughters in exchange for food items like maize and cassava as a means of trying to end poverty in their homes.
“There are parents who have a tendency of forcing their children to go and find food for the family but in the end the same girls end up falling pregnant and getting married to older men and sometimes to boys of the same age,” said Mr Phiri.
World Vision has helped to curb the cases of early marriages in the district.
He said World Vision introduced some projects that have been helping the education sector to curb such vices.
“With the help of World Vision, we have come up with clubs in schools that have allowed pupils to sensitize their fellow pupils on the importance of education and to report any cases of early marriages they hear of,” he explained.
Meanwhile Luampa District Commissioner, Maurice Litula has also said working with NGOs World Vision has helped to curb the cases of early marriages in the district.
He said early marriage cases were growing at a fast rate and the issue has adversely affected the academic performance of children in schools.
“These early marriages issues have been very serious, pupils are missing classes and their attendance levels have gone down and it is for this reason that we are working hand in hand with stakeholders like World Vision and traditional leaders so that we can completely bring this vice to an end,” he said.
“What these children need to know is that education is power and is very important. If you go in urban areas, you find that parents and children value education because they know that good things will come out of education.”
He said with help of World Vision, early marriage cases have reduced because messages have been delivered and sensitization will continue to reach other areas even where World Vision does not reach.
“With the policies that have also been put in place by the government, I can see that there will be change in this district,” he added.