Young women from Pumula express concern on the prevalence of early child marriages 

Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) in partnership with Amagugu International Heritage Centre held a community dialogue which saw young women from Pumula interacting with Councilor Skhululekile Moyo. The meeting was an opportunity for young women to engage with their Councilor on the state of service delivery within the Ward and other development issues of concern.

Young women said early child marriages are increasing at an alarming rate since the country went on successive COVID-19 induced lockdowns since March 2020 which saw schools closing for prolonged periods of time.

“Child marriages violate girls’ rights to education, health and other opportunities for development. Once a girl gets married, she is often expected to drop out of school to look after the home, children and extended family thus their right to education is infringed. Therefore, there is a need for the implementation of national policies that allow married girls, pregnant girls and young mothers to return to school,” said Precious Ncube.

Young women identified poor health facilities in Pumula as one of the challenges faced by residents.

“Ensuring quality health care for everyone is essential considering that it is our human right to receive adequate and good health facilities. As it stands women are spending long hours in queues to access healthcare services as there is no adequate staff and medication in the healthcare facilities. To meet community demands for accessible and affordable health services, community members should be actively involved in the planning and decision making with regards to resource allocation for local healthcare facilities,” highlighted Sithembiso Maseko, a young woman in attendance.

The prevalence of drug abuse as many young people are now suffering from the impacts of drug abuse.

“Drug abuse can weaken the immune system, increasing the risk of illness and infection. There has also been a rise in the crime rate in Pumula and this has been attributed mainly to drug abuse.  To curb the prevalence of drug abuse, there is need for the youths to be involved in sustainable income generating initiatives so that they are not always idle which sees them resorting to drugs,” said Talent Mpofu.

Young women present were encouraged to continue playing an active role in platforms similar to the engagement that was held as a way of ensuring their voices are heard in as far as decision making is concerned.

 

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