Local youths are being challenged to take the lead in confronting cultural and social norms that normalise violence against women and girls.
First Lady Monica Chakwera has made the call in Kasungu during the launch of the Ending Child Marriages in Malawi campaign.
According to information on key stakeholder Oxfam Malawi’s Twitter handle, Kasungu is one district in the country with high cases of child marriages totalling 1,872 between 2018 and 2022.
Regarding the figure of 849 in 2020 alone, Chakwera described the trend as grave.
Oxfam Country Director Lingalireni Mihowa disclosed that it is such alarming levels of child marriages that prompted them to start the campaign.
“We were moved by a survey that the ministry of gender did in 2020 which established that more than 20 000 children in the selected districts under the study were in child marriages and had early pregnancies,” Mihowa said.
The First lady has since stressed that the key to Malawi’s successful fight against this challenge lies in young people.
“I believe if Malawi is to be successful in addressing this problem of violence against women & girls…young people are the ones that can challenge socio norms, stereotypes surrounding the normalization of violence against women & girls,” said Chakwera.
During the event, Chakwera presented certificates and awards to chiefs as champions for ending violence against women and girls, learning materials to students and motorcycles to victim support units.
Meanwhile 809 children are still locked in child marriages in the district.