Youth Reporting Sparks Action by Village Chiefs

Mudzi Wathu Radio Station mentor Joseph Zalinga reports that his team of youth reporters inquired with the Traditional Authority and several village heads about the high rate of child marriages in Mchinji over the past two months. Following a radio program on the issue, the Traditional Authority called a meeting of his village heads and demanded the enforcement of bylaws banning child marriages.

The Traditional Authority, Kazyozyo, at center at left, acknowledged on the radio program that village heads had not been doing enough to stop the marriages. Since that meeting in early August, at least 11 parents have been fined two goats each (the equivalent of $53) for marrying off their daughters. All of these marriages have been dissolved. Mr. Zalinga, the mentor at the station, says Mudzi Wathu Radio, working with several community youth clubs, is already monitoring the village heads to make sure they enforce bylaws banning child marriage. In fact, a new youth club was formed in August, in one village, solely to track child marriages in the community.

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