Iivula-Ithana denounces child marriages

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John Muyamba

Nkurenkuru-The Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, says early child marriage, particularly for the girl-child, is a disservice to Namibia, the family as well as the child.
In this vein she appealed to parents, particularly in rural areas, not to allow their offspring into early child marriage.

She made the remarks when officially opening the fully-fledged regional offices for the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration at Nkurenkuru in Kavango West on Monday.

Iivula-Ithana took a moment in her official speech to address the issue of early/child marriage particularly of girls, urging parents to ensure their girl-child gets an education to ensure the future and well-being of the child.

“Early marriage used to help our women in the past. They used to have an importance in society but today when you introduce your child into marriage at a young age you deprive this girl of her future livelihood and that of her children. So let’s discourage that practice because it neither helps you as a parent of that child, the child herself, nor Namibia,” Iivula-Ithana appealed to parents.

Iivula-Ithana emphasised the country needs both educated males and females in order to develop.
“We are working towards developing Namibia by 2030, that’s our vision. If this country will have to be developed by one sector only, whereby only boys are encouraged to get an education and girls are sent into early marriage before they even achieve their secondary education, it’s a disservice to Namibia, a disservice to the family and a disservice to the girl child,” she emphasised.

Furthermore, she encouraged all residents of Kavango West Region to visit the new offices of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration in Nkurenkuru to register for a birth certificate and ID card.

“The birth and ID services you were in need of for the past years are now a thing of the past. From now on they can be obtained here on your doorstep,” she said.

Iivula-Ithana also informed the Kavango West community that the ministry in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Health and Social Services, jointly agreed to introduce the e-birth notification system with the aim to notify the e-National Population Registration System (NPRS) electronically when a birth has occurred at a dedicated hospital to secure the birth details of the child.

The notification will be done immediately after birth by the nurse who facilitated delivery of the baby. The e-birth notification system will ensure verification of the mother’s identity as it is linked to the NPRS, as well as improve data quality and production of vital statistics.

As the system of recording births does not yet comprehensively cover the whole country, the government still relies on birth projections for the calculation of birth and birth registration statistics.

“For the parents and parents to be, it is your responsibility to ensure that your children are registered immediately after birth. We should remember that it is a child’s right to be registered,” she noted.

The registration of children ensures they get access to essential health and educational and other social services.
“In order to protect children, who are our leaders of tomorrow, from social ills such as early marriage, child labour and child trafficking, we must play our role as parents and citizens in ensuring that children are registered at birth,” she said.

“Success stems from proper planning and for government to do proper projections it relies on accurate data and statistics, thus the absence of required statistics hinders proper planning and development, which in turn disadvantages the citizens of our country.”

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