Porous borders fueling abduction of girls into Mozambique

By Grecium Gama

Chiefs from Mulanje, Phalombe, and Lilongwe have expressed concerns that porous borders are making it difficult to follow up on cases of men abducting girls to Mozambique.

This  was discussed on Friday when chiefs from the three districts met at GVH Nakhonyo in Mulanje to share experiences in ending social norms and harmful cultural traditions that lead to early marriages and pregnancies.

Chancy Mkandawire

Group Village Head Misomali from Phalombe mentioned that some girls have been abducted to Mozambique, where they are reportedly married to businessmen.

He  further said  they struggle to retrieve them due to a lack of funds and border passes.

He then urged the government to find a solution to save these girls.

“Poverty among parents is the main factor fueling this vice, but as chiefs and organizations, we have done our part in sensitizing the people,” he said.

On his part,Group Village Head Nakhonyo hailed the Girls Get Equal project, stating that it has changed the mindset of many parents in the district and has helped end harmful practices that hinder girls’ rights to education.

“As you know, we are in the Lhomwe belt where we strongly believe in our cultural practices. It wasn’t easy for us to understand the importance of this project initially, as we thought the organization aimed to end our culture,” he said.

Girls Get Equal Project Manager at Progress, Chancy Mkandawire, explained that they are working with chiefs, initiators, and child protection committees to promote girls’ education by eliminating harmful social norms and traditions in the three districts of Mulanje, Lilongwe, and Phalombe.

“We are very happy that chiefs, as custodians of culture, are now able to single out or ban harmful practices and follow up on cases of early marriages and pregnancies that were once considered normal when a girl got pregnant at a tender age,” Mkandawire explained.

The meeting was organised by Point of Progress with support from Plan Malawi International under ‘The Girls Get Equal’ project.