The Zambia National Women’s Lobby says it is saddened by high number of early marriages in Njenga Ward in Kasempa district.

And area member of parliament Brenda Tambatamba has noted that high poverty levels and lack of recreational facilities contribute to early marriages.

Speaking in Kasempa when she visited the area under a capacity building program between the Parliamentarian and ZNWL, ZNWL executive director Juliet Chibuta asked parents to stop marrying off their daughters at a tender age.

“As Women’s Lobby, we are so saddened that here in Kasempa mostly Njenga Ward has high rate of early marriages. This is not good because these children you are marring off at a tender age if given an opportunity, would have been completing their secondary school. Let us stop this tendency,” Chibuta said.

She said traditional leaders in the area should work with the community in fighting early marriages.

“I can see some traditional leaders, the headmen are here and this is good because we want you people to work together with the community and fight all early marriages. Let’s educate a girl child. I want to also encourage women to take part in decision making. Imagine, the whole 22 Wards here there is no woman councilor. This is sad but this time we want you women to take part and start thinking of being in leadership. Let us support each other. So our plea is men should support women and encourage them to be leaders also,” said Chibuta.

And Tambatamba noted that high poverty levels and lack of recreational facilities in the area contributed to the rise in early marriages.

“We are promoting women in leadership in the constituency. We had one major meeting which was facilitated by the constituency office and one of the topic we talked was we want to collaborate with traditional leaders so that we can work together and discourage early pregnancy because we believe that together we can fight this vise. This is the reason why you have seen me coming here with the Women’s lobby so that we may see how we can stop this,” said Tambatamba.

“You have also heard that school drop out rate is also high here.A lot of girls have drop out from school because parents still have the notion of saying girl child can be married off any time. I should also say that high poverty levels and lack of reaction has contributed highly to this early pregnancies here.”