Child marriages reduced in Malawi

Jean Kalilani

Government has disclosed that the country has reduced the prevalence of child marriages from 50 percent in 2015 to 42 percent in 2017.

According to Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Jean Kalilani, this has been achieved due to legal framework that the country put in place in order to reduce cases of child marriages.

Jean Kalilani
Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Jean Kalilani

“More girls are now going to school in the country because of strong efforts to end child marriages from 50 percent in 2015 to 42 per cent in 2017,” said Kalilani.

The minister mentioned harmonization of the marriage law, the amendment of the country’s constitution to increase the marriage age to 18 years, the introduction of chief’s bylaws that seek to end child marriages and 2017 National Strategy on ending Child Marriages as some of the reforms that have led to the achievement.

She added that the country has also made significant progress in raising awareness about Gender Based Violence (GBV).

“The implementation of the National Action Plan to Combat GBV (2016-2021) has increased reporting of GBV cases,” she said.

Speaking on the same, Chairperson of Women Caucus in Parliament Jessie Kabwila who together with the minister attended the Sixty Second Session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62) held in New York said the positive strides in addressing matters affecting women is a result of unity that has gone beyond political difference.

“We have shown the world that we are able to work, transcending our political colours, we are able to show that the woman question is a development issue and should not be reduced to political football,” said Kabwila.

She added that unlike in other countries, men in Malawi are more involved in the quest to end child marriages which has resulted in the reduction of child marriages.

“Men of this country have done a brilliant job because we have passed the legislation with the involvement of legislators majority of which were men and the chiefs have been promoting awareness activities of ending child marriages. This speaks of holistic approach,” she said.