Girls Not Brides Malawi is made up of over 90 civil society organisations working to end child marriage in Malawi. Created in 2012, the coalition became an official Girls Not Brides National Partnership in November 2017.
The civil society organisations that make up the National Partnership approach the issue of child marriage through various lenses, including education, health, girls and women’s rights. The organisations work together to influence laws and policies related to girls and young women who are at risk of, or affected by child marriage.
“Having a wide network in many districts means more organisations are prioritising child marriage. Raising our voice collectively has raised our profile in the country and opened doors to new opportunities.” Mr Weston Msowoya, National Coordinator of Girls Not Brides Malawi and Executive Director of the Centre for Community and Youth Development.
They are calling for an alignment of the laws and policies with the international instruments that the country has adhered to, and ensuring their implementation. Girls Not Brides Malawi also works to strengthen the capacity of its members to deliver effective programmes to address child marriage and to work together towards realising their common goal.
“The laws in the country are now harmonised. It was important to amend the constitution as it is the supreme law of the land.” – Lusungu Kalanga, a Malawian activist.
Girls Not Brides Malawi has been a powerful advocate in raising the minimum legal age of marriage to 18 years. After the adoption of the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill in 2015, which raised the minimum legal age of marriage to 18, members of the National Partnership, in February 2017, successfully contributed to the constitutional amendment of the age of the child. This resulted in a harmonisation of both pieces of legislation.
Girls Not Brides Malawi has also partnered with the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare to launch a national campaign on child marriage, and is currently contributing to the development of the national strategy for ending child marriage.
Girls Not Brides Malawi is coordinated by a steering committee including Centre for Community and Youth Development, Church and Society Livingstonia, Foundation for Children’s Rights and ActionAid Malawi. Each region also has a regional focal point.