‘Let Us Support Women’ – Joyce Banda

By Zawadi Chilunga

joyce-banda

First Lady Monica Chakwera on Thursday hosted women at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Mother’s Day and International Rural Women’s Day, committing to address the social problem of teenage pregnancies and ending child marriages.

Among her guests, notably were Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara, the Vice President’s spouse Mary Chilima, former first ladies Callista Mutharika and Anne Muluzi, Lilongwe City mayor, Juliana Kaduya as well as Ministers Patricia Kaliati, Abida Mia, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda and Nancy Tembo.

Madam Chakwera urged mothers to reflect on serious issues affecting the Malawian society and should join hands to help girls get an education.

“If it wasn’t my mother, 50 years ago, making a decision that I go to school while my brother stayed home the whole year due to lack of fees, I wouldn’t have been here,” said the First Lady, an auditor by profession.

The First Lady bemoaned that little Malawian girl “continue getting pregnant.”

She pointed out that teenage pregnancy is a significant public health issue that is both a cause and consequence of education and health inequality for young parents and their children.

Teenagers have the highest rate of unplanned pregnancy and young parents face a range of poorer health and socioeconomic outcomes in comparison with older mothers and their children.

The First Lady said the country needs an anti-teenage pregnancy campaign.

Former president Joyce Banda in her remarks said: “Let us support one another as women in all our endeavours. It is our duty to protect our girls and we all have a role to play.”

Banda branded the First Lady as “a champion of women”.

She encouraged Madam Chakwera to keep up her work in promoting girlchild to be educated.

“I have so much faith in you,” said Banda.

In an interview, former First Ladies, Callista Mutharika and Annie Muluzi – mother to United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi – commended Madam Chakwera for her inclusive approach in tackling matters of national interest.

Malawi celebrates Mother’s Day on October 15. The day was initially set aside by former President Hastings Kamuzu Banda on October 17 and it was later celebrated on the second Monday of October. But former president Bingu wa Mutharika changed it to October 15 to coincide with the International Day of Rural Women, set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008.

Source: Nyasa Times

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