n 14 March, 2017; Mangochi district was electrified by the visit of an Ethiopian delegation that came to Malawi on a learning and sharing visit on finding workable means of ending child marriage in the two countries.
Mangochi is among the epicenters of the child marriage scourge in
Malawi and various interventions are currently being implemented to deal with the problem.
As a member of the More than Brides (MTB) Alliance in Malawi, YONECO was requested to host the visitors in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Makanjira in Mangochi where the organization is implementing various interventions under the MTB Programme. Among other things, a number of girls who were withdrawn from forced child marriages in the area attested how the ending child marriage programme (MTB) in Malawi played a role in nullifying the marriages they were forced into. The girls indicated that their marriages increased their vulnerabilities and exposed them to various challenges including Bender Based Violence (GBV).
Various chiefs from the area acknowledged how various trainings which YONECO conducted helped them to understand the dangers of marrying off young girls. Furthermore, traditional leaders also stated that they have been enlightened by various workshops which YONECO held. It was further added that the current trend is that no marriage is officiated by religious leaders without approval from the chiefs who do a proper screening of the ones getting married to verify if they are indeed above the legal marriage age of 18. It was stated that most people in rural parts of Mangochi district do not have birth certificates hence parents lied about the age of their children to simply marry them off.
The Malawi More than Brides (MTB) Alliance is tirelessly working in the fight against child marriage which is being spearheaded by the Malawi government through the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare. The programme is being implemented with support from the Dutch Government through Simavi. Apart from YONECO, other partners in the MTB consortium are; Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) and Save the Children International Malawi which plays a supervisory role as well as providing technical support.
Among other areas, the Ethiopian delegation is also expected to visit other parts of the country including the area of Senior Chief Kachindamoto’s area in Dedza.
During a conference that was held on 27 November, 2015 in Lusaka, Zambia; African Leaders resolved to end child marriage in the continent. The visit by the Ethiopian delegates from Finote Hiwot further vindicates how governments and other institutions are working towards abolishing child marriage in Africa.