As one way of ensuring economic empowerment among the youth, Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) through ‘Stop Child Marriage’ (STOM) Project has trained about 307 young people in various vocational skills in Ntchisi District.
The youth from all seven Traditional Authorities (TA’s) in the district have acquired skills in tailoring, carpentry and joinery, motor-cycle mechanics, hair saloon, welding and fabrication among others, according to their preferences.
Danish Church Aid in partnership with Press Trust, Teveta and Evangelical Association of Malawi are implementing the ‘Stop Child Marriage’ project in the district which is aimed at contributing to the reduction of child marriages as well as the sustainable development of their households, communities and the nation at large.
Speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times, the project Coordinator Amos Chibwana said the main components of the project include provision of secondary school bursary to young adolescent girls and young women mainly those that dropped out of school.
Chibwana said they also provide vocational skills training; and inclusive community advocacy activities targeting adolescent girls and young women withdrawn from child marriages and those who are at risk of child marriages.
He said they decided to train the youth in the district as one way of providing them with skills which they can use for survival in life.
“We are very satisfied with the impact of this project, because we have seen many young girls starting their own businesses after the trainings and they are now able to support themselves and their families. However, this work of ending child Marriages needs collective efforts and we need more partners,” he said
One of the beneficiaries Moneyi Chipeta from Malomo Village in the area of Traditional Authority Chilooko thanked EAM for the initiative saying it will go a long way in motivating the youth to be self-reliant and industrious.
Aged 20 Chipeta owns a welding shop at Malomo trading centre and since she started her life is not the same as she can ably take care of herself.
“I got married at the age of 17,the marriage life wasn’t rosy as I anticipated, it was hell, thanks to Evangelical Association of Malawi for rescuing me in a child marriage trap and helping me with this skill, I am now able to take care of myself and also support my kid.
“I don’t think I will get married soon, I need to concentrate on my personal development first and also make sure that my child is properly taken care of,” she said
Another beneficia Godwin Chikako from Kansonga Village in the area of Traditional Malenga said since he started tailoring business, his life completely changed and he is willing to share the skills with other young boys in his area.
Ntchisi District Council social welfare officer Wilson Milanzi thanked EAM for the life changing initiative saying the numbers of Child Marriages are going down with many acquiring various skills for personal development.
The Malawi government has been championing technical and vocational skills among young people through technical and vocational training colleges including community technical colleges to reduce unemployment and to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship among them.