Ending Child Marriage in Malawi: A Roadmap to Sustainable Change

MEMORY BANDA

Guest post by Emily Teistworth, Director of Programs, Let Girls Lead. This article originally appeared on February 17, 2015 in The Huffington Post.

This piece is the first installment of our “Converging For Impact” series, indented to lift up the voices across our network of partners and highlight their amazing change efforts for a better world. David Sawyer, our Strategy Director, has been partnering closely with Let Girls Lead over the past six months to help clarify their “Core DNA,” strengthen & create an intentional organizational culture, and define and execute on strategic priorities for 2015.

Malawi outlawed child marriage last week. Following more than five years of undaunted advocacy by Malawian girls, their allies and civil society leaders, the country’s Parliament tabled and passed the “Marriage, Divorce, and Family Relations Bill,” increasing the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years. This legal victory is a huge step forward for girls’ and women’s rights globally. The fact that it has been a painfully slow step merely serves to underscore its vital importance.

In December 2012, I published a blog on The Huffington Post called “The Beginning of the End for Child Marriage,” when it looked like the Parliament of Malawi would finally vote to raise the national legal age of marriage. Now, three years later, the bill has finally passed and the hard work of implementation begins, in a country where more than half of teenage girls drop out of school and are married before Continue reading