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By Onishias Kamana Maamba in Chadiza
Gender Minister, Elizabeth Phiri has implored the media to accelerate their reporting on issues affecting girls and boys in a bid to contribute to social transformation.
Speaking in Chadiza recently, Ms Phiri said the media is key in creating change and raising awareness that influenced both behaviour and policy change around issues affecting the girl child.
“To you colleagues from the media, you are key to creating and raising awareness, influencing both behaviour and policy change around issues of child marriages and promoting equality in education and you are key players in offering possible solutions. I therefore implore you to up your game and accelerate reporting on issues affecting girls and boys as this will contribute to social transformation,” she said.
And she said girls should reposition themselves by being assertive and speaking out on issues such as causal sexual relationships that had the potential to ruin their future.
“To you my girls, you need to reposition yourselves by bring assertive, by speaking out on issues such as causal sexual relationships that could ruin your future and be focus on education as it is the only way of having a brighter future,” she said.
She said there needs to be concerted efforts from all stakeholders in curbing all forms of negative vices such as child marriages and teen pregnancies that disadvantaged girls.
She said there was need to walk the talk and go beyond lip service to developing practical steps in fighting such vices.
“For us to curb the scourge [child marriage], it calls for concerted efforts by all parties concerned because we are strong together than individually. We need to walk the talk and go beyond lip service to develop particle steps in the fight against child marriages and teen pregnancies,” she said.
Ms Phiri was in Chazida and Petuake districts, Eastern province to launch Chiefdom by-laws aimed at curbing teen pregnancies and child marriages in the two areas.
According to UNICEF state of the world’s children, 2016 report Zambia has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world with 31% of women aged between 20-24 years married by the age of 18.
The rates of child marriage vary from one region to another, and are as high as 60% in eastern province [Chadiza and Petauke ranking first and second respectively] and as high as low as 28% in Lusaka, the capital city.