Zambia – Following the Regional Dialogue on child marriage laws held in Johannesburg from 3-4 February 2015, AWEPA and Plan Zambia, in cooperation with Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF), organised a national workshop in Zambia, on 23-24 June 2015.
During the Regional Dialogue, in February, information was shared with regard to the issue of child marriage, including the role parliamentarians and civil society could play in ending child marriages. The deliberations and discussions on child marriage, the causes and driving forces behind it, its effects, consequences and overall impact were aimed at persuading Members of the SADC-PF to commit and take action against child marriage within their national jurisdictions and on the regional level.
The objective of the national follow-up workshop on child marriage laws was to introduce the outcomes of the Regional Dialogue on child marriage laws to the participants and to discuss how best the law in Zambia could be enforced and monitored. This was done by identifying the roles of the different stakeholders (MPs; Consortium; civil society) and including these roles in a parliamentary action plan/national parliamentary statement on child marriage laws.
Zambia has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates worldwide (42%) and the highest incidence is found in the eastern and northern part of the country. Today, Zambia continues to suffer from the negative impacts of the child marriage practice, such as poor health and nutrition, high levels of illiteracy, HIV/AIDS, among others. The government of Zambia has taken the issue of child marriage seriously and formed in 2012 a consortium which includes ten Ministries and is working with different stakeholders, including civil society and chiefs. Parliamentarians used their mandate and a draft marriage bill is now ready to be presented to the Parliament, in which the proposed age for marriage is set to 18 years.
— AWEPA (@AWEPA) June 24, 2015