• AMPlus Issue7

‘TERMINATOR’ of Child Marriages

Sana Thombre

20th October 2020

Theresa Kachindamoto is a senior chief of the Dedza district in Malawi, Africa. Known as the ‘Terminator’ Kachindamoto is known for her fight against the practice of child marriage. Fifty per cent of the girls in the country get married before the legal age of eighteen and subsequently give up on their education due to resulting pregnancies. Kachindamoto is determined to end these early child marriages and help young girls complete their education.

Theresa Kachindamoto (Source: Google images)

Theresa Kachindamoto is recognized internationally for successfully passing a bill in 2015 that raised the minimum age of marriage from fifteen to eighteen years in Malawi. She was supported in her mission by the UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and empowerment of women, through which Kachindamoto was supported in campaigns and activities.

Apart from this, Kachindamoto has ensured she helps mindsets within the community change by involving the community itself. She built an intelligence network of female informers to monitor activities within the 545 villages of Mawali locally. This group is known as ‘the Mother’s Group’, and they aim to ensure that the girls who dropped out of school due to marriage or pregnancy are able to resume their education.Almost 56 per cent of girls of Malwai leave school before the age of nine due to early marriage and pregnancy.

Theresa Kachindamoto dreams of empowering girls to finish their education and fulfil their full potential instead of getting married young and wishes to break this cycle in practice.

The main reasons for child marriage are often the tradition of poverty. Many girls are married off in hopes that they will be taken care of by their husbands when the family cannot afford basic needs. By tackling this, the immoral practice of child marriage ends and ends the domestic violence that is a reality for many girls.

Early pregnancy can also result in complications during pregnancy or birth, and sometimes even death. It contributes about 20-30 per cent of the maternal mortality in the country. Early pregnancy in girls can deteriorate their health in the long run, causing a lot of hormonal complications.

(Sources: She the People, BBC, inews)

Edited by: Keyuri

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