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The youths ending child marriage in Malawi

Out of marriage and happily back to school

Published 3 September 2018

The fishing business along Lake Malawi has fueled child marriage as girls look for easy money from the fishers. And this area is among the highly populated districts in the country with higher cases of child marriage. Malawi is a small country in the southern part of Africa.

One of these examples is that a schoolgirl married at the age of 17. Charity Laston, got a boyfriend whose business was to smoke fresh fish along the beach. "I did it because of poverty as I struggled with raising money for school uniforms, fees and soap. So the easiest way to get out of it was to get married." Charity says.

"During our courtship, the guy would give me between K5, 000 and K10, 000 (between 6 and 13 US$)." So what would Charity do with the money? "I would not use the money to buy the school in the same way or pay for the school fees because my parents would ask about the source of the money. So, I would just spend it on buying sweets and such stuff."   

Ultimately, the two were married when Charity was 17, she is now 21 and they have a two year baby girl. January this year, Charity joined fellow youths belonging to a local youth group called Succeed.

"I learned quite a lot from the club members, most of them encouraged me deeply as regards my situation. Exclusive with information, I left school and have since gone back to school." Charity is now among the youth in its local community, Going to children's wedding under IM's Partner Center for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education. 

"Our efforts are fruitful, some women have also withdrawn from early marriages and joined us at the club. But fighting against children's weddings is not without challenges. Some girls and parents divide us by saying that their marriages are none of our businesses. "Charity says that the club members refer to the conditions of the village manager, the village development committee and later to the police."

Charity and her baby PHOTO: Samuel Chibaya/IM

Male involvement in ending child marriage PHOTO: Samuel Chibaya/IM