Malawi government setting up Child Marriage Survivors Fund

Government is setting up a special fund designed to address the social and economic challenges that child marriage survivors face to complete their education.

Mkandawire: Our intervanrtion should go beyond dissolution of child marriages

The deputy director of gender affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Community Development and Social Welfare, Alice Mkandawire, broke the news in an interview with Nyasa Times on the sidelines of the presentation of scholarships to girls and young women who were recently rescued from child marriages in Salima district.

UN Women has provided educational scholarships to 750 girls and young women who were recently rescued from child marriages in Dedza and Salima in an effort to keep the child marriage survivors in school and complete their education.

And speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwanza in Salima, Eliza Patrick disclosed that government and its development partners do not provide them with adequate support to complete their education.

“While we do appreciate the efforts various players take to rescue us from child marriages, we have noted with concern that their intervention ends at dissolving our marriages. They fail to appreciate that it is poverty that forced us to drop out of school,” said the 21-year-old Patrick.

“Our parents failed to pay our school fees and that’s why we opted to marry early. So, it is our plea that after you rescue us from marriages, please consider supporting us until we finish our education,” she pleaded.

Mkandawire concurred with the girls, saying absence of deliberate mechanisms of supporting child marriage survivors has been one of the challenges facing the campaign to keep girls in school.

“Discussions are currently underway to create a special fund targeting child marriage survivors. We have various stakeholders who are doing paperwork and once we are ready, the nation will be informed about it and what child marriage survivors need to do to access the fund,” she said.

UN Women Country Representative, Clara Anyangwe, said her organization has been supporting its implementing partners to strengthen safe spaces for girls and child marriage survivors in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the two districts.

Anyngwe added that under its Elimination of Gender Based Violence thematic pillar, UN Women has supported 13,450 girls child marriage survivors in 10 districts with different with different skills/life skills.

“The project will help the child marriage survivors to access education through the bursaries program and skills development opportunities complimented under the We-learn programme, which is also being implemented in this area,” she said.

Meanwhile, Senior Chief Kachindamoto and T/A Mwanza have thanked UN Women for the support it provides to child marriage survivors in the two districts.

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