Reducing Early Marriages Through Inclusive Implementation Plan for By-Laws

Fellows: Dalitso Chiwayula, Precious Mtuwa, and Zione Matale

Grant Year: 2019

Location: Thyolo District, Malawi

Organization: Chipembere Community Development Organization (CCDO) and Lojeso Association

Project title: Reducing Early Marriages Through Inclusive Implementation Plan for By-Laws

Project summary: There are several national policies and programs aiming to improve the lives of women and girls in Malawi, including the National Gender Policy and the Divorce and Family Relations laws, but the rate of child marriage is not decreasing in districts like Thyolo. According to the Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2015-2016 report, girls in Thyolo District are still at high risk of early marriage. Thyolo district government and traditional authorities have domesticated these policies into bylaws to protect the rights of girls in the district, however, these bylaws often do not have a clear and inclusive plan to ensure their implementation.

CCDO and Lojeso Association are partnering to increase accountability for implementation of the child marriage law by advocating with the District Social Welfare Officer, Area Development Committees, Village Development Committees, and the local chiefs to establish and launch a clear and inclusive implementation plan for the child marriage law in Thyolo District, specifically Traditional Authority (TA) Changata and Nchilemwera. The project team will engage a range of stakeholders including ENGAGE Girl Leaders in Changata, girl representatives from Nchilemwera, Parent Teacher Associations, and mothers groups to all contribute to the drafting of the implementation plan and to support the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of these bylaws in the community. Successfully implemented bylaws would protect over 15,000 adolescent girls in Nchilemwera and Changata from early marriage.