The Gender Equality and women empowerment (GEWE) project has welcomed the passing by Parliament of the Marriage Divorce and Family Relation bill saying the Act will help strengthen the project’s initiative of keeping girls in school.
Among other things, the bill, which will be passed into law after President Pater Mutharika assents to it, bans child marriages by increasing the legal marriage age from 16 to 18 years.
“The GEWE project is implementing a number of activities aimed at stopping girl child marriages and with the marriage age pegged at 18, such clarity will help in creation of a more focused and objective awareness and community mobilization,” said GEWE Project Coordinator Innocent Hauya in an interview.
“This is not limited to girl marriages only but also Gender Based Violence (GBV) in general especially cases related to property grabbing,” added Hauya.
He said the enactment of the laws is not an end in itself saying the GEWE projects expects that the enforcement will be expedited.
“The GEWE project has already put aside some resources to fast track popularization of the Act and also general awareness on how women, men, boys and girls stand to benefit from the Act,” said Hauya.
The GEWE project is a three year project which is being funded by the European Union and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and is being implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare. The project is being implemented in 13 districts across the country.
One of the Implementing partners of the project, Maggie Kathewera Banda of Women’s Legal Resource Centre (Wolrec) also welcomed the passing of the bill saying it is going to assist in making a difference in the campaign of keeping girls in school.
“The law is going to assist in making a difference. Actually this work of discouraging child marriages has been done for some time now but lacked the necessary legal framework. Of course under GEWE we have been rescuing girls from child marriages and sending them back to school but there was no proper legal framework on the same,” said Kathewera Banda.
“However what is crucial is to ensure that the law is being implemented fully so that girls as protected. There is also need for every citizen to take part in ensuring that the law is being followed,” added Kathewera Banda.
The GEWE project is working with traditional leaders to eliminate socio-cultural practices that marginalize women and girls but also prevent the girls from completing their education. It is also working with mother groups to help bring back teen mothers to school and ensure that they remain in school.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :