Minister Urges Against Child Marriages Amid Drought Crisis in Zimbabwe

Monica Mutsvangwa
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Families must not marry off young girls to cope with the effects of drought and climate change, stated Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa.

At the recent launch of International Families Day in Mt Darwin, Senator Mutsvangwa reaffirmed the government’s commitment to its drought mitigation program and ensuring food security for all citizens.

Due to the El Niño-induced drought, many families are in need of food aid, and Zimbabwe will need to import some of its food. With agriculture being the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, the drought has left many families struggling to find enough food.

“Drought can lead to economic stress, frustration, and tension in homes, which can manifest in the form of domestic violence,” Mutsvangwa said at Dotito Primary School, Mt Darwin. She emphasized that families are the critical building blocks of a community, society, and the country at large.

Mutsvangwa highlighted the importance of addressing socio-economic issues impacting family development, noting the negative impact of climate change on family units. She stressed that no one should marry off their children in exchange for food, and reiterated that the government, through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, is committed to providing food for everyone in the country.

She urged mothers to report any form of abuse rather than suffer in silence or watch their children being abused. Mutsvangwa also warned men against emotionally and physically abusing their partners, stating, “Respect and support your wives because a mentally stable spouse raises well-behaved and empowered children.”

Addressing young girls, Mutsvangwa advised them not to rush into marriage for financial gain but to pursue education first. “Uplift yourself to positively change the lives of your own families. Emulate and appreciate the hard work that your parents showed by sending you to school,” she said.

She also encouraged communities to embrace the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept and grow traditional grains. “Plant small grains like sorghum or millet to eradicate food insecurity instead of resorting to early child marriages and gender-based violence,” she said.

Chief Dotito, Mr. Takaedza Nyawanza, condemned child marriages and urged his community to end the practice. “This year’s drought has threatened food security, leading some parents to resort to the harmful practice of marrying off their young children for food. This is wrong. Children are a vital part of society and parents must work tirelessly to ensure that their children get a proper education and a brighter future.”

The chief also noted that gender-based violence is tearing families apart, with cases on the rise in Mt Darwin.

Prophetess Anna Moyounofa advised women to seek wisdom from God rather than focusing on materialistic things. – Herald