World Vision Malawi campaign against early marriages takes off

A World Vision initiated aggressive campaign against child marriage has finally taken off and it is expected thousands of girl children will be taken out of their marriages.

Chimwemwe Banda: Under-age girls pushed into early marriages  and government has played its part  by introducing legislation that criminalises it

The campaign comes amid reports that 50 per cent of girls are married below the age of 18.

In a crusade dubbed ‘It takes Malawi to end child marriages,” World Vision brought together faith leaders in Lilongwe, both Christians and Moslems to sensitize them to take part in the campaign.

World Vision national director Hazel Nyathi said her organization would engage all stakeholders, including faith leaders to end early marriages in Malawi.

“The matter before us existed probably before we existed. If we don’t raise children well, it means we will have unwell adults,” she said.

She said children who get into early marriages will always depend on their parents and others and always seek the national budget support, unlike children who are get into marriages late in their lives.

According to a Unicef survey, rates of child marriage in rural community average 44 per cent, where girls and boys are married as early age 10 or 11 years.

Nyathi said child marriages has a negative impact on girls and boys well being, saying it deprives them of the ability to realize key human rights, including their rights to health, education and to be free from physical, mental and sexual violence.

She said the survey results of early marriages are not changing, therefore she asked the faith leaders to be key partners with World Vision in fighting the vice.

Vasco Kachikapa, Nkhoma Synod official said faith leaders have a great role to play in ending early marriages in the country.

He said the synod is changing some guides and books that teach the synod members so that they include issues of early marriages.

Chief director in the ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Chimwemwe Banda said the government has played its part in ending child marriages by introducing legislation that criminalises it.

“As government, we promise to give policy guidance on the issue,” she said.

Activities on the day included panel discussion and a symbolic walk against child marriages.

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