SINDA District Administrative officer Codrington Sakala called on civic leaders and civil society organisations to prioritise education sensitisation.
Speaking during a meeting organised by Regional Psychosocial support initiative (REPSSI) on Thursday at Chonchi Guest House on early marriages and other vices that affect the children, Sakala, who represented district commissioner Paradious Sakala, said the best thing to do to reduce early marriages and teenage pregnancies was to continue with sensitisation on the importance of education.
He told the meeting that the PF government was committed to build schools in many areas where the population was overwhelming.
“Let’s put education the first thing, let’s prioritise education because we have to sensitise the communities to make sure more children are enrolled in schools. Let’s recruit more learners and by so doing, our able government will then recruit more teachers, let’s also sensitise people about good health… In short, let’s sing the sensitisation songs effectively and leave the rest to our government,”Sakala said.
He further said wealth did not bring a smile on people’s faces than education.
“…even the richest people who are not educated regret. Education is very important because it’s at the centre of everything. Education provides added wisdom on how to do certain things effectively. If you don’t know, those who are rich but did not go to school, don’t think they are happy, they are not happy at all. They regret never getting educated because their business or whatsoever need education, hence let’s fight vigorously to champion the goodness of education and these early marriages and teenage pregnancy and cattle hearding will be reduced or eradicated with combined efforts,” Sakala said.
He further challenged REPSSI to establish an office in the district to ensure its programmes were run effectively.
“So far, the district is so grateful to the positive impact of the programmes REPSSI is rendering to the communities. We challenge you to establish an office here, we need your office here so that you can see how effective your programmes are in the district. Even if you say you come today, an office for you will be available and the council won’t hesitate to do that,” said Sakala.
And council secretary Mabvuto Masiye assured REPSSI programme officer Chilekwa Chisanga that the local authority would continue to advocate for them in council meetings to ensure all the civic leaders were equipped with knowledge and information on the organisation’s programmes.
“I can assure you that as a council, every meeting with civic leaders, we shall put Repssi on the agenda. This will be done to ensure all of us speak the same language so that your voice and the voice in the community is loud,” said Masiye.
Council chairperson Michael Phiri, in his closing remarks, thanked Repssi for fulfilling its promises.
“We are very thankful to you Repssi. Last year we held the meeting right here and you had promised to come again and for sure you have done so. We differentiate you with others that can promise to come back and never do so…i urge you to continue providing knowledge to our communities so that the mindset is transformed,” said Phiri.
And Chisanga thanked the district for being accommodative to REPSSI programmes.
“Without your support, Repssi can’t achieve its intended purpose in various communities,” said Chisanga.
And later when REPSSI paid a courtesy call on Chief Kathumba who had formed the anti- school dropout committee, the traditional leader expressed happiness with REPSSI’s programmes and urged other NGOs to speak the same language.
“Some NGOs are not helping us, you fight early marriages and teenage pregnancies, we sing the same song but you find some go on the radio to say teenagers can marry each other; it’s their right, there is no problem. That is not ok and we ask you to speak on our behalf that NGOs, civil societies should speak one language,” said chief Kathumba.
And chieftainess Nyanje said girls that fell pregnant shouldn’t be condemned to abortions but that parents needed to give them a second education chance.
REPSSI also visited chief Sandwe of Petauke and chieftainess Kawaza of Katete.