Mansa, 8 April 2016: To support ongoing national efforts aimed at addressing child marriage in Zambia, the Government of the Republic of Zambia - with support from UNFPA, UNICEF, UKAID through the Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Canada and other partners - has launched the National Strategy to End Child Marriage (2016-2020).
Launched under the theme "Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Zambia", the National Strategy outlines Zambia's strategic focus aimed at accelerating national efforts to end child marriage by 2030 through the implementation of a multi-sectoral operational framework that reflects current national and global trends and efforts.
It further aims to promote and contribute to the protection of the rights of all girls and boys, both those affected by child marriage as well as those at risk; and support their development and welfare as espoused in the revised National Child Policy; the revised 6th National Development Plan; Zambia's Vision 2030; the African Union Charter; and other relevant national and international policy and legal frameworks.
Key objectives of the National Strategy include:
- To strengthen multi-sectoral responses in order to reduce children’s vulnerability to marriage.
- To facilitate the development and review of policies and legislation in order to ensure a consistent approach to protecting child rights and promoting their well-being.
- To raise awareness on the dangers and effects of child marriage in order to foster change in attitudes, behaviors, beliefs and practices that perpetuate child marriage.
- To facilitate the provision of child sensitive services in order to reduce children’s vulnerability to child marriage.
- To facilitate the provision of child sensitive services (including adolescent sexual and reproductive health) in order to reduce children’s vulnerability to child marriage.
- To effectively mobilize financial resources in order to enable implementation of programmes aimed at reducing children’s vulnerability to marriage.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Gender and Child Development Professor Nkandu Luo highlighted the need to "let girls be girls and not brides", adding that ensuring girls are empowered and supported to develop to their full potential will enable them contribute to Zambia's economic development.
Also speaking at the launch, the United Nations Zambia Resident Coordinator, Ms. Janet Rogan reaffirmed the United Nations' support towards the implementation of the National Strategy, through coordinated multi-sectoral programming led by UNFPA and UNICEF.