“This isn’t western charities telling the government of Malawi what to do. It’s the young people of Malawi demanding change, and Irish people standing with them,” said David Dalton, CEO of Plan International Ireland as he launched his organisation’s petition to raise support for young people in Malawi trying to finally ban Child Marriage.
50% of women aged 20-24 in Malawi were married before they reached their 18th birthday, and 12% of the same age group were married before they turned 15.
Progress was made in 2015, when a law was passed to ban most child marriages, but the constitution still allows parents to bypass the legislation and give consent to these early marriages.
Young people in Malawi are taking the lead on this initiative. They are fed up seeing their sisters and nieces being married off to men sometimes two or three times their age.
And just like in Malawi, it’s young people in Ireland who are standing up and being counted on this issue.
Étáin, aged 18, from Co. Leitrim, a member of Plan International’s Youth Advisory Panel, is leading the charge to get support for these brave youth advocates.
I just can’t understand how parents would willingly let their daughters get married at such a young age, and to men sometimes two or three times their age. I knew I had to help,
Over the next month, we’re calling on people across Ireland to join us in standing with young people in Malawi to help them change the country’s constitution.
“We’re asked to sign petitions all the time, and rightly some people ask ‘what good do they do?’ This one is different. We need to show the youth advocates that we care and that we stand with them,” said David Dalton. He also added:
Equally, we need to show the Malawian government that young people and their allies across the world believe that Child Marriage is wrong – no ifs, no buts, no maybes.
To sign the petition, please visit www.plan.ie/petition and join the movement to end Child Marriage in Malawi once and for all.