Despite recent legal victories, child marriage remains a key development challenge in Malawi. Photo: Nicole Johnston/Oxfam

On Friday, 27 October 2017, the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability, and Social Welfare with support from AFIDEP will hold a Gender Policy Dialogue aimed at catalysing and strengthening the ongoing efforts to end child marriages in Malawi. The Dialogue will identify and discuss priority actions that we need to take as a country to effectively implement and enforce laws and policies to end the currently high levels of child marriages.

Despite recent legal victories, child marriage remains a key development challenge in Malawi. Malawi has the 11th highest rate of child marriage in the world, and the 9th highest rate in Africa. In Malawi, 47% of women marry before the age of 18, and 12% before the age of 15. Malawi’s teenage pregnancy rate is also very high – 29% of girls aged 15-19 have begun childbearing. Now that the law is clear on child marriage, attention must be on implementation and enforcement so that girls in Malawi are protected from marriage and childbearing before they are ready, and are able to get an education.

Hon. Dr. Jean A. N. Kalilani, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, will preside over the event. Dr. Esmie Kainja, the Gender Principal Secretary, will be part of the high-level panel discussion, and Prof. Nyovani Madise, AFIDEP’ Board Member, will present the evidence on, and its implications for, ending child marriages in Malawi. The dialogue will feature a high-level panel discussion on priority actions that government, its development partners, and other actors need to undertake to intensify the implementation of policies and enforcement of laws put in place to end child marriages. Participants will be encouraged to consider solutions to problems of implementation and enforcement, and to make commitments to empower girls and communities across the country to end child marriages.

Follow the conversation on Twitter: #EndChildMarriageMw

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