This Chief In Malawi Just Did Something Amazing for Child Brides and Grooms
Malawi has one of the highest number of kids married in the world: 1 in 2 children there are wed by their eighteenth birthday. There aren’t just young brides, there are grooms too. In rural areas, child marriage is most prevalent, where families can pay off debts by giving
In April, the national government of Malawi raised the minimum age for marriage to eighteen, causing celebration of child advocates across the globe. Unfortunately, though, many young children were already wed when the new law took affect. Advocates also say there are deeply engrained cultural norms around marriage that need time to shift before we see a significant drop in the number of married kids.
That said, last month a female regional chief in Malawi took a stancefor the child brides and grooms in her district: she annulled the marriages of more than 300 married children there and then sent them back to school.
Senior Chief Inkosi Kachindamoto of the Dedza District also fired many of the village heads who had given the marriages the go ahead.
Of the 330 marriages she ended, 175 of the kids were wives and 155 were fathers.
Kachindamoto said the kids had to “get back to school.” She will likely face resistance to her decision: the new Marriage Act in Malawi still lets kids under 16 marry if they have parental consent, a loophole human rights activists want to have closed.
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