It Takes Malawi to End Child Marriage Banner
While children face multiple challenges in Malawi, a study by World Vision in 2018 found child marriage to be the worst and in need of urgent attention in order to meet the country’s development goals. Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world with approximately one in two girls married by the age of 18. A UNICEF study in 2017 found that 9 percent of girls are married off at age 15 with another 42 percent married at 18. Boys are also married as children, but girls are highly affected.
There is broad support to end child marriage on moral and ethical grounds, but while adopting legal provisions for the minimum age at marriage is the first step, this is not sufficient to create lasting change. At the same time, ending child marriages is a target under the Sustainable Development Goals.
A key challenge to ending child marriage in Malawi is entrenched attitudes that accept the practice. Child marriage is also closely linked to poverty, as often in rural areas girls are married off very young to improve a family’s financial status.
Several studies have found that child marriage in Malawi often forced girls into relationships wrought with sexual and domestic abuse and gender-based violence. Some girls said their families used manipulative tactics to coerce them into a forced marriage, threatening and verbally abusing them or throwing them to the street they refused to comply.
Drivers of child marriage
- Customary and religious practices
What is World Vision doing?
World Vision Malawi embarked on a five-year campaign to End Violence against Children (VAC) beginning FY 17 with a theme: “It Takes Malawi to end Child Marriage”. The Campaign aims at reducing child marriage by 20 percent. This campaign is raising awareness and ensure that World Vision Malawi and partners implement programmes that are in tandem with the goals of this campaign.
The It Takes Malawi to End Child Marriage Campaign will focus on ensuring that;
1. Communities empowered to end harmful cultural/religious practices that perpetuate child marriage 2. Improved life skills for teenage boys and girls especially on sexual reproductive health and livelihoods
3. Communities economically empowered to provide for the needs of their children
4. Adequate resource allocation to enforce laws and policies to end child marriages