Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO) is one of the implementing partners under the United Nation Joint Programme on Adolescent Girls (UN-JPAG).The project is being implemented in the areas of Traditional Authorities (T/As) Katuli and Masache in Mangochi and Chikwawa districts respectively.
During the outreach activity on Gender Based Violence in Chikhwawa there came up a lot of problems that are affecting the lives of young girls. Some of them are rooted in the cultural practices like chingalawa , a practice which mostly happens when a fisherman has bought a new boat and before sailing it for the first time the fisherman is required to have sex with a young girl. There is also Thena which is a practice where by a husband is given, as a bonus, a younger sister to his wife and the girl innocently saves this man without any choice hence her right to choose a right partner at a right time is being violated. Kutomera , is a practice where by young girls are betrothed to old men. Girls as young as 12 years are betrothed to men of 60 years.
These cultural practices have really affected the lives of these young girls in different ways, like being forced into marriages, early pregnancies and even exposure to sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and the like. There is a lot that has to be done in order to improve the lives of these young adolescents’ girls.
What do you think could be done in order to improve the lives of these young girls? Your views or comments are most welcome.