Regional governors have pledged to mobilise citizens on the ground to minimise the lack of knowledge of the legal definition of a child, saying it has potential implications on children’s rights and protection.
New Era approached the regional governors who witnessed the launch of the child marriage study report last Thursday on how they will assist to protect the girl child from such a practice.
Omusati governor Erginus Endjala said following the launch of the child marriage study report, it is evident that there is a lack of knowledge of the legal definition of a child.
“I will go back to the region and educate my people on the child marriage which I have considered as a bad practice. People on the ground need to have a good understanding of the right of the child,” he explained.
He said now he will use the report, as a tool to quantify that child marriage is real and need urgent intervention.
Walde Ndevashiya, the regional governor of Ohangwena, explained the issue requires a multi-sectoral approach, by bringing church, political leaders, youth and traditional leaders together to fight the scourge.
“The traditional authorities are the key stakeholders in fighting child marriages, so they need to be engaged and properly mobilised, as much as we have a policy in place, people need to understand the rights so that they can end it,” he said.
“You can only engage people and make them understand when you have something to relate on. This report is an eye-opener and we will go and educate our people. Together we can win this.”
On his part, Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu said parents need to know the negative impacts of child marriages on children.
He added the church, traditional authorities, as well as parents, also need to have access to the laws that protect children from being forced into child marriage.
“We need to educate the parents together with the youth so that they will understand because in most cases when children reach puberty, they are regarded as adults and if they get pregnant, they are forced into marriage. We can only win this if parents are aware of the consequences and the right of the child,” he explained.