|Child Marriage Terminator ; Snr Chief Kachindamoto|
Several studies have indicated that in developing countries like Malawi, one in every three girls gets married before reaching the age of 18 and one in every nine girls get married before reaching their 15th birthday.
Furthermore, government statistics show that half of the girls will be married by their 18th birthday, with some as young as age nine or 10 being forced to marry.
Child marriages are a threat to the development agenda of developing countries.
No wonder countries with the highest rate of child marriages like Malawi are ranked among the poorest countries in the world.
Young girls who marry at a tender age do not have an opportunity to attain formal education and this greatly diminishes their economic opportunities. Such young girls who are usually forced into marriages become too dependent on their husbands, a situation that also makes them vulnerable to violence and abuse. Their low education levels prevent them from contributing to the development of their societies and their children also inherit the same situation – the cycle of poverty.
One thing that has to be clearly understood is that we cannot ably win the fight against poverty if we continue to ignore the impact which child marriages have on our development efforts. This is why this article is dedicated to one strong woman in the country who has taken a bold decision to fight against the malpractice.
This is none other than Senior Chief Kachindamoto who hails from Dedza district who managed to annul more than 800 marriages in just three years. The chief further made sure that those who were withdrawn from child marriages have returned to school.
The development is worth emulating and this issue will be history once all traditional leaders are committed to ending child marriages.
Further to this heroic act, the female chief is now lobbying the government to increase the marriage age to 21 years as one way of making sure that young people should attain high levels of education and not marry at a tender age.
Snr Chief Kachindamoto is the kind of leader Malawi needs if we are to achieve Sustainable Development Goals
Just recently, I was privileged to meet chief Kachindamoto at a certain workshop that was aimed at promoting the rights and welfare of the girl child in Malawi. The Snr Chief explained at length the devastating effects of child marriages and how the fight against the malpractice could be won. She left me with a sense of relief to note that there are wise traditional leaders who are willing to lead the fight against child marriages in their areas.
I strongly believe that Malawi will soon create a safe environment for young people. Hail Snr Chief Kachindamoto!!!!!!!!!!