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Lumbama implores media to highlight issues of safety of girls

By Kebo Chisebe

Government has called on the media to help in the campaign against girl child abuse by broadcasting unsafe situations that have compromised girl’s safety in their pursuance of education.

Central Province, Permanent Secretary, Denny Lumbama said the media should give prominence to the campaign against the abuses girls were going through by broadcasting the unsafe situation far and wide for the whole nation to be aware.

Mr. Lumbama was speaking during the media campaign for girls’ safety and security at Kabwe Civic Centre grounds organized by FAWEZA. Kabwe is the provincial headquarters of Central Province in Zambia.

He said the pictorial research that was conducted by FAWEZA early this year highlighted the situations that put girls’ safety at risk in Kapiri Mposhi where some of them had been exposed to unsafe situations that have led them to dropping out of school.

Mr. Lumbama stressed the need to focus on the reduction of the number of pregnancies and not to encourage unwanted pregnancies in the province if the girl child was to prosper in education.

The Permanent Secretary commended the Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia (FAWEZA) for bringing to the attention of government the safety and security situation of girls in Kapiri Mposhi and how that has exacerbated teenage pregnancy.

Mr. Lumbama cited the scholarship scheme that had supported the education costs of children from the disadvantaged families, the science, mathematics and technology (SMT) and several safe houses built-in some districts as some of the demonstrative interventions FAWEZA had done to help the girl child.

He said Kapiri Mposhi town was on the high way and as such it had a high presence of travelers both foreign and local putting a number of girls at risk of abuse and exploitation by travellers who include truck drivers.

Mr. Lumbama explained that some settlements in the district were located far from most schools where many pupils have to walk long distances or opt to move into town to be near their schools where they lodge in rented unsafe accommodation.

He called for serious reflection about the various situations that had compromised girls’ safety and help government to focus on what is needed  to be done singularly or collectively to improve the lives of the  girls and promote their participation in education.

And speaking earlier, FAWEZA national coordinator, Daphne Chimuka said her organization would continue to advocate for gender sensitive education policies and programs and ensure that they were implemented in a way that promoted equitable participation of girls in education and at community level.

Mrs. Chimuka said FAWEZA members had campaigned for increased parental and community support to girls’ education as well as removal of social and cultural impediments that hindered the full participation of girls and women in education.

She said it was unfortunate that violence and threats of violence were still important reasons for girls not to attend school because their subordinate status in society made them more vulnerable to abuse than boys and fear of retaliation made it difficult for them to resist or complain.

Mrs. Chimuka said that in a society where deeply entrenched attitudes, beliefs and practices were more the obstacles to female advancement than government policies, a lot needed to be done to guarantee girls’ continued stay and completion at all levels.

She lamented that the fear of violence and other forms of harassment had been detrimental to girls’ education  adding that school based gender based violence was rooted in a male-dominated culture which belittled females or condoned violence against girls and women.

ENDS/ZANIS

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October 26, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment