Child marriage is a cause for concern in many parts of the world. It is a violation of girls’ human rights and it is a harmful practice for their health, education and integrity, in addition to impacting their future development and increasing the risk of suffering violence.
Around the world, UN Women advocates for the adoption and implementation of laws and policies that prohibit and prevent child marriage. It also empowers girls to know their rights, and rallies communities to take a stand against the practice.
In early 2017, UN Women played a critical role in lobbying for an end to child marriage in Malawi, working with the government, as well as civil society representatives and traditional leaders who regulate customary marriages, like Chief Theresa Kachindamoto. To date Chief Kachindamoto has annulled over 1,500 child marriages and sent girls back to school in the central region of Malawi.
Chief Kachindamoto recalled how seeing 14-year-old girls who already had two children compelled her to act. Today, alongside annulling marriages, she spends time speaking with girls about their rights and future, and persuades their parents to be supportive. “I try to convince them that if you educate your girl you will have everything in the future,” she said.
“Progress is not possible without investing in women and girls. They are our future and constitute half of any society’s promise and resources,” stated UN Women Country Representative Clara Anyangwe. “The Sustainable Development Goals won’t be achieved without the contribution of women and girls. We want a Planet 50-50 by 2030 and we need to step it up for gender equality. This is why UN Women in Malawi has made ending child marriage a top priority for change.”
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