Kachindamoto  wary anti-early marriage fight hampered by inadequate support to education

Senior Chief Kachindamoto  has  been unveiled by World Vision Malawi as the organization’s brand ambassador in its End Child Marriage campaign.

Snr Chief Kachindamoto says education should be key to ending child marriages lest it be a losing battle.

World Vision Malawi national director Hazel Nyathi

Callista Mutharika speaking at the event

Kachindamoto got the prestigious recognition last Friday  due to her commitment and personal drive in ending child marriages that are detrimental to the socio-economic and well-being of the nation at a function held at Mtakataka in Dedza District.

The 49 year-old chief, whose real name is Theresa Kachindamoto has had a personal hand in terminating 2,549 child marriages from 2004 when she started the fight leading to the girls going back to school and as a testament to her efforts and in 2017 academic year, three of such girls were selected to pursue further education in national public universities in the country.

Presiding over the unveiling, Presidential Advisor on Safe Motherhood, HIV & AIDS and Population, Callista Mutharika said it is the wish of the government to see to it that girls and even boys below the ages of 18 are encouraged to concentrate on school.

She commended Kachindamoto saying such recognition is well deserved looking at her efforts in ending child marriages that has had a great impact in transforming the lives of many girls who have gone back to school after getting rescued from the early marriages.

The Former First Lady added that, “Traditional leaders are important in this campaign as they stay with the people and command respect hence critical to the elimination of child marriages.”

Mutharika revealed scary figures showing that ‘one out of two girls get married before reaching the age 18 and one out of nine girls get married before the age 15 with some of them as young as eight years old.

Globally 39, 000 girls below 18 years get married every day and if not checked, there will be 220 million girls in early marriages by 2030.

World Vision Malawi Country Director Hazel Nyathi said they are a child focused organization and are spearheading the effort to ending child marriages which is quiet prevalent in Malawi.

She pointed out that, “TA Kachindamoto has come out as one of the leaders that we wish to recognize her efforts, self-driven and action oriented in addressing issues of ending child marriages…And she has shown the consistency, the willingness and the exemplary behaviour that is expected of community leaders in addressing their own social agenda,”

Nyathi said that early marriages have a negative impact on various other issues including family welfare, literacy, health and nutrition adding that there is need for increased vigour at community level to annul child marriage so that we fight various challenges that are interlinked.

The Country Director expressed satisfaction with the role government is playing by rallying around all stakeholders in the campaign to end child marriages in all the communities across the country.

As an ambassador, Chief Kachindamoto will be expected to play the mentorship role to other community leaders as well galvanize various stakeholders in enhancing the campaign through showcasing the success stories in order to impact positive changes in other communities.

Kachindamoto is the youngest of 12 siblings who worked as a secretary for 27 years, until 2003 when she took over the chieftainship

The issue of child marriage is a prominent one in the country for financial reasons. Many families find it difficult to afford most of life’s necessities, let alone pay for their kids to go to school. Selling their children off to wealthy suitors for marriage is the only financial recourse they have.

Kachindamoto’s aims to see all girls return to school and “no child should be found at home or doing household chores during school time.”

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