Just as it is in many African, countries, the rate of child marriage in Malawi is shocking.
Many girls in the west African country, get married at very tender ages, usually because of extreme poverty in their families which leads to parents and relatives putting pressure on them to get married.
It is shocking but TRUE that one out of every two girls in Malawi will get married before the age of 18! Many get married between the ages of 9 and 17.
Often times, girls are forced by their parents to have sex for money, men who do not want to use protection pay the girls extra for that. If the girl eventually gets pregnant, she’ll be forced to get married.
Child marriage in Malawi robs these young girls from living normal lives. They are thrown into marriage unprepared and this exposes them to mental, physical and emotional abuses and even domestic violence which includes marital rape. These teenage girls are forced to have children when they are merely children too. This has led to a high rate of infant and maternal mortality in the country.
Also, many of these girls are forced to drop out of school; this increases illiteracy and prevent the girls from knowing and exercising their rights.
It is therefore necessary for The first female President of Malawi, Joyce Banda to ensure that legislations stipulating the minimum age of marriage at 18 and legislations protecting the rights and interest of these ‘poor girls’ are passed and implemented appropriately.
These girls are too young to be mothers or to even be married, they should be in schools and not ‘husbands’ houses’.
A strong and collective ‘NO’ must be said to child marriage in Malawi and other parts of Africa and the world at large.