Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Minister Patricia Kaliati has underscored Malawi government’s commitment towards ending child marriage which is currently at 50 percent in the country.
Kaliati said this during an Every Woman, Every Child high level event at the ongoing 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, US.
The high level meeting, which was presided over by United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, was organised to discuss progress made and challenges faced on gender equality, and empowerment of women and girls across the globe.
The minister informed the meeting that Malawi rescued a total of 600,000 girls in 2015 alone following implementation and application of various interventions to end child marriage.
The interventions included campaigns to end child marriage and enactment and enforcement of legal frameworks like the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act and the Gender Equality Act.
She added that active involvement of traditional leaders had also borne fruit as they had enacted by-laws in their areas to end the practice.
Kaliati further said the re-admission policy for girls who drop out of school and mobilisation of mothers groups were also helping to end child marriage and get girls back in school.
The Minister assured the meeting that Malawi was committed to the Every Woman, Every Child Movement which has an agenda of having no young people become parents before reaching adulthood.
In his remarks the United Nations Secretary General said his position gave him a responsibility to improve the welfare of women and girls and he described violence against women and girls as an abomination and a threat to public health.
He added that a 10 percent cut in child marriage cross the globe would result in the reduction of maternal mortality by two thirds.
Ban stated that he was strongly committed to improving the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents adding that the Every Woman, Every Child movement was one of the paths to success towards ensuring respect of human rights for women, children and adolescents in all member countries of the United Nations.
The UN Secretary General further observed that there was a direct link between equality and well-being and therefore called upon world leaders and all people around the world to commit to the Every Woman, Every Child agenda and help transform the world for the better.
Every Woman, Every Child is an initiative launched by the UN Secretary General in 2010 and calls upon governments, civil society and the private sector to deal with health challenges faced by women and girls around the world.
Since its inception, the movement has contributed towards the saving of lives of millions of women and children across the globe.
In an earlier Ministerial Roundtable meeting on Financing Gender Equality and Women Empowerment on the same day, Kaliati stressed that financing for gender equality between 2016 and 2030 was a prerequisite for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The minister said the world was facing numerous challenges such as climate change, poverty, trafficking and migration that were negatively impacting on women, children and vulnerable groups.
She therefore urged member states to match the agreements made at the meetings with resource allocation, targets and indicators.
Kaliati added that gender has been mainstreamed in government departments in Malawi.
“The budgeting process has been institutionalised with clear gender budgeting guidelines. The Departments of Planning in all the Ministries were trained in Gender budgeting to track the budget performance for its adherence. A systematic mainstreaming process was instituted in Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Transport, Education, Finance and National AIDS Commission, with a costed gender, women, girls HIV and AIDS action plan,” she said.
The minister added that there has been a 3 percent increase in national gender budget allocation, and 7 percent increase off-budget support between 2014 and 2016 for gender equality and women.
The CSW is a body of intergovernmental organisations dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The 60th session of the commission is taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York between March 14 and 24 2016.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :