The role of traditional leadership in ending early child marriages for education: experiences from Kalonga Gawa Undi chiefdom of Katete district, Zambia.

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Mwelwa, Kapambwe
Chibamba, Agnes Chileshe
Mkandawire, Sitwe Benson
Phiri, Davies
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Malcolm Moffat Multidisciplinary Journal of Research and Education
This paper explores the role of traditional leaders on ending early child marriages for education as panacea to the implementation of the ‘National Strategy on Ending Child Marriages in Zambia 2016 – 2021’. The Chewa Chiefdom of Zambia was used as a reference point on the role traditional leaders can play in implementing government policies. The article focused on how traditional leaders through their structures discouraged early child marriages and supported girls and boys to continue with their education. A case study research design was employed of the qualitative mode of inquiry. Data was collected using face-to-face interviews, and observation of various practices among the Chewa people of Zambia. The interviews and observations covered historical information on traditions and cultural practices, including measures the chiefdom had put in place to ensure that all young girls and boys in the chiefdom have access to education. The article revealed that, in a quest to end early marriages and promote child education, Kalonga Gawa Undi had put in place several measures aimed at promoting children’s education and ending early marriages. Among these measures included; awareness campaigns, collaborating with support groups, and revising some traditional practices such as the times when Chinamwali and Nyau initiation ceremonies were expected to take place so that they do not disturb school going children. Respondents reported that, the measures positively reduced cases of early marriages and increased the number of children accessing education. Despite this improvement however, lack of financial support remains a major constraint to ending early marriages and promoting child education in the Chewa kingdom. The article recommended that the chiefdom needed to continue partnering with stakeholders such as NGOs and government in supporting children’s education and discouraging early child marriages. In addition, the article recommended that the language on the bill boards be translated from English into Chewa for those who cannot manage to read English language.
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Child marriages. , Early marriages. , Girls marriages. , Education and traditions. , Cultural practices on education.