Increase ‘Girl-Boy-Child’ access to university, pleads Senior Chief Nkula
By Derrick Sinjela, Chitani Zulu and Ashton Kelly Bunda
SENIOR Chief Nkula of the Bemba Speaking People of Chinsali District of Muchinga Province is prodding the Zambian Government through Higher Education Minister Nkandu Luo to emulate neighboring Malawi by increasing girl and boy child access to university education, through a decentralized district selection approach.
While acknowledging support rendered to intelligent girls in his chiefdom, Senior Chief Nkula, Kafula Musungu II implored President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and Vice President Inonge Mutukwa-Wina, through Professor Luo to select a minimum of 20 intelligent female and male students per district.
Making reference to the Malawian model, Senior Chief Nkula, a Gender Based Violence (GBV) Whistleblower and Child Protection Champion encouraged Zambians to prioritize access to learning opportunities’ for young people, especially the girl-child.
“It is important for all children regardless of geographical to access university education. We have a lot of intelligent girls and boys, who deserve access tertiary education,” said GBV/Child Protection Champion, Senior Chief Nkula, in reference to a suggestion by Malawian academican, Ms. Lucy Nambuzi, who recalled that former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader and President of Malawi, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, from May 2004 to April 2012, had introduced a quarter system in which university bursaries are annually given to 20 intelligent students in each district.
Senior Chief Nkula showered praise on Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) and Community Development and Social Services Minister, Ms. Emerine Kabanshi for sponsoring 25 intelligent children in Muchinga Province access university space, and retrieving others from early marriages.
In an apparent reference, to heightened poverty, higher income inequality and high unemployment levels, Senior Chief Nkula said partnership nurtured through CAMFED, Minister Kabanshi and community members will overcome such teething woes.
“I am happy that in 2016, CAMFED and Minister Kabanshi, who is Patriotic Front Luapula Member of Parliament, assisted 25 girls, now in Second Year at University,” Senior Chief Nkula told authors in an interview at Kabulonga’s Mika Hotel.
Meanwhile, Chief Nkula of the Bemba Speaking people in Muchinga says the campaign against Child Marriage by the government in conjunction with traditional leaders is paying off as earl marriages have now reduced.
A GBV and Child Protection Champion, Senior Chief Nkula bragged of involve everyone in his chiefdom in to zero tolerance to early marriages, in collaboration with CAMFED Executive Director Barbra Chilangwa and National Director, Dorothy Kasanda.
Senior Chief Nkula prided himself of introducing community schools in all the 20 villages’ supplementing public schools so that children are not discouraged due to walking long distances.
“I have instituted a Palace Committee that works with closely with CAMFED, the media and the corporate world advocating the fight against early and forced child marriages,” said Senior Chief Nkula.
Senior Chief Nkula explained that Muchinga Province had the poorest record of child marriages in the country with parents giving away their girl children to elderly men due poverty , but today the situation has improved and his area is a role models of girls promotion in Zambia.
In addition, senior Chief Nkula is spearheading traditional action beyond Muchinga Province, with Her Royal Highness Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II and the Soli people the Second and Senior Chief Chitambo of Central Province being appointed Lusaka Province GBV/Child Protection Champion to name but two.
The United Nations projects the world’s 7.3 billion population to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, with Africa rising by 1.2 billion people, as high fertility rates meet declining mortality rates, says Camfed Alumnae Association (CAMA) leader, FIONA MAVHINGA,
“Tackling birth rates through investment in girls’ education, beneficial impact on climate change is key as the World Bank shows a difference between 0 years of schooling and 12 years is 4 to 5 children per woman. A quality education, including much-needed information and guidance on family planning and female reproductive health, will open personal choice and greater financial independence for young women,” prods Ms. Mavhinga, a Zimbabwean lawyer, leading development of the Camfed Association (CAMA) network, projected to reach 130,000 by 2019, as a direct result of Camfed’s investment in girls’ education.
SENIOR Chief Nkula of the Bemba Speaking People of Chinsali District of Muchinga Wed 14 March 2018 by Derrick Sinjela at Mika Hotel Kabulonga www.rainbownewszambia.com
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Nicole Richards interviews Senior Chief Nkula of the Bemba Speaking People of Muchinga Province at Mika Hotel Kabulonga in Lusaka -Picture by Rainboweducation Zambia