|Dr Mary Shawa on the Middle making her opening remarks|
Centre for Youth and Development joined the rest of the world in the commemoration of the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child which was commemorated on the 11th of October 2012. The day was commemorated under the theme "Mylife, my Right: End Child Marriage"
CYD participated in the National Public Debate on Child Marriage - what should be the legal minimum age for marriage in Malawi? In Malawi the current marriage age is 16. The debate drew participants from various sectors namely; UN Agencies, the Government, the Clergy, Civil Society and the children themselves. On the panel were; Dr Mary Shawa, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Rezine Nzikamanda, High Court Judge of Malawi and Senior Chief Kwataine. a traditional leader from Dedza District.
|A cross-section of participants|
The public debate gave an opportunity to various stakeholders who called upon authorities i.e. government and the local leaders to take action on the marriage age which is currently at 16 years in Malawi but which also allows children who are 15 years to get married with a consent from their parents. From the discussions, one thing that is for sure is that all sectors i.e. the Civil Society, the Clergy, the Ministry of Education and the children themselves etc, feel that 16 years is on the lower side for any person to get married.
|The minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Anita Kalinde making her closing speech|
Children, also actively participated in the debate voiced out the implications of getting married at a tender age. The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare informed the participants in her closing remarks that arrangements are at an advanced stage to review the Marriage Bill so that it conforms to International legal instruments on children like the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the rights and welfare of children (ACRWC). Local leaders also pledged their commitment to stop harmful cultural practices that fuel up child marriage.