Society has been advised not to subject girls attaining puberty to teachings that prepare them for marriage as opposed to being focused on education.
Vubwi District Commissioner, Enelless Banda, said while the rich preserve of culture was appreciated, exposure of girls to certain cultural and traditional practices should be done at an appropriate age.
Ms Banda said some of the teachings given to girls, compelled them to try and practice what they have been taught which leads to high incidences of child marriages and teen pregnancies.
She was speaking when she officiated at this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, held in Vubwi at the weekend.
Ms Banda observed that the consequences led to failure by girls to progress in education, leading to the widening of the inter-generational cycle of poverty.
‘’ These consequences have devastating effects on our generation such as sexually transmitted Illness, HIV and AIDS and failure to progress in education,’’ she said.
Ms Banda said government has repositioned itself to promote the welfare of the girl child in a number of ways especially stamping out child marriages which mostly affected girls as a worst form of abuse.
She said some of the measures taken by government such as the re-entry policy accord a number of girls chance to continue with their education
and allows them explore their potential.
And Plan International Zambia, Child Protection Officer, Katongo Mwansa, said his organization wanted to work with government to ensure communities participate in issues that affect the girl child.
Mr Mwansa said her organization was working together with traditional leaders to look at traditions that impacted negatively on girl children.
Meanwhile, a 13 year old Grade eight pupil at Mbande Secondary School, Pronia Sakala, said most parents attached less value to girls’ education by marrying them off at a tender age because they have a perception that girls were a source of wealth.
This year’s event was commemorated under the theme: ‘Empowering
adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence’.