Malawi is world’s 12th highest contributor of child, early and forced marriages in the world

The First Lady Monica Chakwera has disclosed that Malawi ranks 12th highest contributor of child, early and forced marriages across the globe, with 42 percent of girls getting married before reaching the age of 18.

Speaking during the opening of the National Girls Education Symposium in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Chakwera expressed disappointment with the rating, stressing the need for all stakeholders to collaborate in addressing the problem.

First Lady Chakwera interacts with one of the girl children

She said this is why her Shaping Our Future Foundation (SOFF) takes girl education very seriously because without education poverty is made worse.

She said the overall objective of her foundation is to mobilize various education players to support the common cause towards improving girls’ access to quality and access to education.

“This discussion will mobilize all to develop a collective national response that will ensure that girls and young women can access and be retained in primary and secondary school,” she said.

Discussed under the theme: What works in ensuring education for every Malawian girls’ future: An inter-sectoral inquiry?

Chakwera said there is need to know who is doing what, where and how can the work that is going across different sectors be coordinated.

She added that the current rate of dropouts will not be achievable unless the problem is addressed aggressively with boldness and urgency that is required.

She further said Malawi girls can be supported not only to enrol at school but to be retained in schools so that they become productive citizens that will thrive as envisioned in Malawi 2063.

She therefore called upon stakeholders for urgent action in removing barriers that girls and children face and prevent them from realizing their potential.

In her remarks, Deputy Minister of Education, Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima said the Ministry of Education through its National Girls Education Strategy under implementation has helped to build a network of support towards girls’ education.

“It aims at advancing girls’ education and tackling the barriers that girls face in terms of their participation and access to education,” she said.

The ministry guides stakeholders in the country with technical input aiming at increasing girls enrolment and creating suitable learning environment for their education advancement, she said.

The symposium has been organised by SOFF and other stakeholders to bring together key national, sub-regional and international voices to consolidate all the work going on in Malawi.

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