Exploring the role of marriage counselors in resolving marriage conflicts: a case study of Senama area in Mansa district.

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Mwanankopa, Milambo
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of the study was to explore the role of traditional marriage counsellors in resolving marriage conflicts in Senama village. The objectives included; to determine the nature of counselling offered to married couples by traditional counsellors. Secondly, to assess factors that influence accessibility of traditional counselling services among couples thirdly, to ascertain challenges faced by traditional counsellors in conflict resolution and lastly, to establish measures to enhance traditional counselling in conflict resolution. An explorative design was used. A qualitative technique was used in the collection of data. The qualitative techniques involved use of interview, semi structured interviews, questionnaires and focused group discussion. The sample comprised 51 participants. The findings revealed that majority of the participants were aware of the existence of traditional counselling services and felt that such services had the potential of providing viable knowledge and information on marriages and in fact reducing divorce and GBV although others still felt traditional marriage counsellors were not helpful. The study also found out the factors that influence the accessibility of marriage counselling included; culture, unfaithfulness or infidelity were some of them. The participants also faced a number of challenges when it came to traditional marriage counselling, such as; lifestyle or culture of the contemporary generation, skills or qualification of tradition marriage counsellors and the inefficiency of legal institutions such as the courts of law and the Victim Support Unit. However, the participants also mentioned some of the measures that could address the challenges, these include; inculcating traditional values in the future generation, revising the curriculum for traditional marriage counselling and couples to minimise seeking help from traditional marriage counsellors. The following recommendations that traditional counselling had the potential of sustaining marriages and could help to reduce rate of divorce and GBV if the society gave marriage counselling the outmost respect that it holds in the society that is preserving the culture among others. Furthermore, the environments for counselling should be improved to enhance privacy which most couples look for. Lastly, that, marriage counsellors should have a common syllabus and not a tribal based one because there a number of intermarriages in the recent years.
Marriage counseling. , Marriage counselors. , Marriage law--Zambia. , Customary law--Zambia.