In Legal Monitor Schools Essay Competition Edition, ZLHR spotlights how children are taking the lead in pointing out the evils of child marriages through an essay competition aimed at raising awareness on the phenomenon. Read on.
Catching them young
Children are taking the lead in pointing out the evils of child marriages in an area where many of them are forced to abandon school to assume motherhood. Chipinge district in Manicaland province is one of the areas worst affected by child marriages, a problem that has worsened since the outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent government enforced lockdowns and economic problems.
As part of efforts to eradicate the scourge, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in partnership with Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD) decided to engage school children by introducing an essay competition focusing on child marriages in Chipinge district. Students drawn from Chipangayi, Rimbi, Checheche and Takawira High schools participated in the competition under the topic: “Child marriages, causes and effects. Towards ending child marriages by 2030”.
The quality of entries was high, judges of the schools essay competition said, highlighting how young people could turn from victims to become effective agents of change. Out of the 37 participants, three emerged as the best. “Chipinge District was particularly chosen because of the high number of child brides and the impact of early marriages in that community,” said Peggy Tavagadza, ZLHR Regional Manager for Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. Tavagadza said a call for interested young people in schools to participate was made in June 2021 with the assistance of PYCD, a community-based organisation. The schools essay competition not only provided young people an opportunity to proffer solutions, but, also be part of documenting the actual impact of child marriages as experienced and seen from the young people’s lenses, said Tavagadza.
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Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights