A 10 year old girl of Isangano village in chief shimumbi area of Luwingu district of the Northern Province has been married off by her desperate parents for immediate economic gain.
Luwingu District Gender Chairperson Agnes Chomba confirmed to Zambia news and information services in an interview today that a 10 year and 9 month old girl was married off after she was withdrawn from the nearby school.
She expressed deep disappointment with the parents for marrying off their daughter who was below the age of 16 years to an over aged man of the same area.
Mrs Chomba lamented that the scourge which was rampant in senior chief Shimumbi has reached alarming levels in the area and needed urgent attention by the government and other stakeholders.
She explained that children below the age of 15 need parental care instead of forcing them into early marriages which they later fail handle.
Mrs Chomba appealed to senior chief Shimumbi and his subjects to look into the matter seriously and advised families on the need to encourage their children to go to school.
Parents should in the area should desist from marrying off their children at the tender age in spite of the economic conditions which they face , she said.
“ Instead of looking at marriage as a solution to their economic woes , parents must persevere and take their girl children to school because education is a form investment that has lasting economic benefits for both the child and the family, “ Mrs Chomba, who is also a gender based activist, said.
She said children who are forced into early marriages fail to contain pressure of marital problems which arise with marriage such as poverty and failure to take children to school.
Mrs Chomba also advised villagers to refrain from gender related Violence which include wife battering and wife beating husbands, excessive beer drinking, house breaking, quarrelling and fighting which later result in physical assault, causing actual bodily harm and deaths.
And village headmen who declined to be named said children who have been married off sometimes die during delivery because they are under aged.
He said the consequences from early marriages are many and some of them include children born with physical or mental conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.
He explained that efforts to discourage early marriages proved futile because the communities lacked the information on the dangers of both early marriages and gender based violence.