The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in Western Province says it operating with an intent to reach almost all parts of province to educate people on the dangers of selling, dealing and abuse of illicit drugs.

DEC says it is also working together with the Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) to educate pupils on the dangers of illicit drugs especially in areas where community schools were recently created as some vulnerable children used to spend leisure on drugs before schools were created.

This was disclosed by DEC Head of Department of Education and Counseling Chilambe Mpundu Masengu at Public Dialogue Forum held at Dolphin Lodge in Mongu that was organised by the Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS).

The aim of the Public Dialogue Forum was to discuss the different challenges community schools were facing and find solutions to their problems.

Mrs. Masengu said that DEC was also sensitizing people on the dangers of illicit drugs in among others work places, churches that were having programs on illicit drugs and appealed to the community to report any cases of illicit drugs stating that DEC would not fail to reach any areas regardless of distance.

And speaking at the same forum Western Province Police Victims Support Unit (VSU) Coordinator Nyirenda Kalondo disclosed that according to an Education Act, marrying off a girl while attending school or refusing a girl to attend school was an offence.

Mrs. Kalondo said marrying off girls who were denied education were not going to make them appreciate education and this would in turn make them not take their children to school resulting into juvenile delinquencies.

Mrs. Kalondo also said that marrying of girls below the age of eighteen was resulting into them not appreciating marriages and still wanting to play as they were young ending up into marital problems and cases being brought forward to the Victims Support Unit for intervention.

She said in Zambia marrying off females is at above eighteen years though there are proposals to take the age to twenty-one in the constitution adding that below sixteen years it was defilement.

The Western Province Police Victims Support Unit (VSU) Coordinator appealed to the community to work together, stop early marriages and report such to the police adding that it took the village to raise a child as all children are our children.

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