Malawi committed to ending child marriage, Minister Kaliati tells UN conference

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 with UN secretary general Ban

Kaliati with UN secretary general Ban

Kaliati (right) and the Malawi delegation listening attentively to the Secretary General's remarks,

Kaliati (right) and the Malawi delegation listening attentively to the Secretary General’s remarks,

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.

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5 thoughts on “Malawi committed to ending child marriage, Minister Kaliati tells UN conference”

  1. Tengupenya says:

    Nkalo and other may be it is indeed reducing child marriage we should be talking about. But is it good to stop the natural when we are not nvesting enough opportunities for the young adults to complete education and vocational training? What will keep them busy and away from starting families? Especially for girls, parent agree to marry them off quickly when they are not i school as one way of reducing their own responsibility over children. There also men who like young wives. Why are older women not going for boys just like the old men going for young wives? are our women more sympathetic to young people than men?

  2. Nkalo says:

    No end to child marriage without an end to poverty. People marry young becoz they drop out of school young. People drop out of school young becoz they have no food and no clothes. People have no food and no clothes becoz they are poor. Follow this simple and straight-forward logic if you want to end child marriages, otherwise zonse ndi ZAMKUTU! Go all over Malawi and smell the poverty. Do you think mtsikana can go to school opanda panti? malaya ong’ambika? osadzola mafuta? ali ndi njala?

  3. ellias says:

    Zoona koma tikunyozedwa mmidzimu tikamawauza kuti ana asathamangile banja koma school first. Tapitani mmidzimu mukaone momwe zilili kukwatitsa ana kusiyila std 6 and yet ana anzawo akaphunzila akugwila ufiti as if tinapangitsa ndi ife kuti akwatiwe. Mabanja akenso okanya matope nde ntchito za achinyamatawo ndi ma ganyu olima mmunda.

  4. Edwin says:

    I am not sure of the commitment Malawi is making on ending child marriage. There is a lot to be accomplished before this commitment . We all know the root causes of child Marriages in black and white. Unless we come out clearly and address the root causes as Malawian there and then we can start talking of REDUCING CHILD MARRIAGE AND NOT ENDING CHILD MARRIAGES.
    Please lets pull enough resources together both Human and Financial if we are to achieve the best results. Policies have to be developed with real known technicians in this field if we are to start committing ourselves in such upper class conferences.

  5. Tengupenya says:

    marriage is a social issue. Biologically, mature children (both boys and girls) are ready for the reproductive function. at that stage they have naturally graduated from the young to the adults. Humans, in their interference with nature, have precluded essential reproductive health education from their offs-prings and trekked on the scheme of delaying procreation among them. it is good for some societies, as the delay is enforced to allow the young people to complete and education and vocational training. It is best to ensure the young people can fend for their families before they are let loose to found families. The real topical issues about interfering with so called child marriage are in respect of domination od males over females and in respect of the differential application of it to girls and boys. If boys have to complete an educations and skills training before they are allowed to procreate or marry, it would be equitable to allow girls also to complete an education and skills training before they are forced to engage in marriage. why is it men who are forcing marriage with girls? why are women not doing the same with boys? If they are biologically ready the social reason for delaying their engagement in marriage and procreation must be grounded in strong social protection needs of acquiring education, life skills and improving social development.

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