Malawian activist awarded for fighting child marriages


A 23-year-old girl child advocate, Memory Banda, has been given the United Nation’s Young Activist Award in Geneva for her efforts in combating child marriages and promoting girl child education.


The development has been revealed during the high level awards ceremony held in Geneva which attracted Ministers, Diplomats, UN officials, NGO leaders and other dignitaries.

Speaking during the ceremony, the Executive Director of UNFPA, Natalia Kanem, appreciated Memory for her efforts in safeguarding rights of her fellow young people.

“It is your efforts that are helping us to build a more just, a more inclusive and a more sustainable future. You have proven that indeed women are powerful change makers,” said Kanem.

In her speech, Ms Banda dedicated the award to the vigilant girls in rural areas who are working tirelessly to change the status quo of their communities.

“I grew up in a society where child marriage, sexual violence and early pregnancies have been rampant. In my childhood, I have seen many girls dropping out of school, getting pregnant, forced into marriages and sexually violated,” Banda said.

Banda further exemplified her sister that she was forced to marry to a man when she was 11 years old and the community just overlooked and instead, justified such acts as cultural and encouraged girls to accept and be silent.

In 2015, Memory Banda was also awarded the International Inspiring Youth Student Award and nominated for the Kids Right Prize Awards.

Among the awardees were; Nadia Burad, Amy and Ella Meek from United Kingdom, Hamangai Pataxo from Brazil and Rebecca Kabuo, a leader in the movement for good governance in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Currently, Memory is a member of Pan African Young Speakers and Activist; Freedom Speakers Bureau under Human Rights Foundation.