Exploration of the Zambia child protection system: addressing causes and psychological effects of early marriages in girls of Chinsali district.

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Mwewa, Humphrey M.
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The University of Zambia
It is confirmed that early marriages is a violation of human rights around the world and does not take girls psychological or physiological readiness into consideration for marriage. Qualitative information was collected from 52 participants comprising Non Governmental Organizations, community leaders, parents/guardians, and children of the target population. Results showed tradition/culture, poverty, poor quality accessed education and several gaps than strengths in the Zambia Child Protection System as reasons for early marriages. Results further revealed that girls in early marriages were affected psychologically and hence may experience psychological distress, depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. In order to prevent causes and consequences of early marriages in girls and fill existing gaps in the Zambia Child Protection System addressing early marriages; coordination of development programmes was vital, stakeholders needed a holistic approach to achieve one objective, the idea of addressing issues as individual entities may not yield positive results in the fight against early marriages. Despite devastating consequences of early marriages in girls felt and known at an individual level, family and society at large, people had deliberately perpetuated practicing early marriages; a wide range of individuals and organizations needed to continue creating awareness on the adverse impact of early marriages on women’s health. Especially, increasing opportunity cost of early marriages for education. Findings show that access to quality education by girls greatly contributes to ending early marriages. An environment should be ensured where children can get proper care and facility to grow up completely and properly. Key Words: Early marriages, psychological distress, coordination, education, proper care.
Early marriages-- Psychological distress