By MacPherson Mukuka
Let Girls be Girls, and not Brides was the theme for the just ended 3 day National Symposium on Ending Child Marriages in Zambia.
The Symposium which mainly focused on what Government and its cooperating partners will do to end the ever increasing number of girls been forced in to early marriages attracted hundreds of delegates from across the country.
And as a contribution to the campaign, the Canadian Government has pumped in funds to help spearhead the end child marriage campaign in the country through UNICEF.
In presenting the 1 million Seven Hundred thousand Canadian Dollar Cheque to UNICEF, Canadian Head of office in Zambia, Kumar Gupta said much has been talked about regarding early marriage and what remains in action.
Mr. Kumar said Canada has made ending child marriage a policy and development priority and that it is intensifying the programme and advocacy efforts to address the problem through platforms such as the just ended symposium.
And in receiving the Cheque, UNICEF deputy representative Lula Marian said UNICEF is aware of the heavy burden child marriage has on girls and the families they come from.
She said the scourge is a recipe for inter-generation poverty and puts girls at risk of their lives.
Dr. Marian further praised the Canadian Government for its financial support, as the funds will go towards the development of a solid action plan for under the Ministry of Chiefs and traditional affairs.
She said the money will support the plan for 2014 and 2015.
Meanwhile Chiefs and traditional affairs Deputy Minister Josephine Limata says as a member of parliament for a rural community, she is aware of the challenges young girls face in their families.
The Canadian Government has kicked the ball, the challenge now remains on UNICEF and the Zambian government together with other stakeholders to continue with the pace until a goal is achieved.