Theresa Kachindamoto, a senior chief in the Dedza district of Malawi, became absolutely outraged at constantly seeing 12-year-old girls with teenage husbands and a baby on their hips. Only a short time after being called to the role of chief, Kachindamoto began to take action.
She met with 50 of her sub-chiefs and had them sign an agreement to end child marriage in all areas under her authority. Kachindamoto was determined. She told the chiefs, “Whether you like it or not, I want these marriages to be terminated.” She even fired four male chiefs after learning that they were still allowing child marriages in their areas.
During her time as chief, Kachindamoto has annulled 850 child marriages and reports that all of these girls have gone back to school. Along with this stunning accomplishment, Kachindamoto has also banned the practice of sexual initiation camps.
If you don’t know about the stunningly horrifying practice of ‘sexual initiation camps’ I will be exposing this in a video later in the week, but sure to follow me on YouTube.
Last year Malawi made gigantic strides to end child marriage in the past couple of years. In 2015, the country passed the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act, raising the age of child marriage to 18 years. But there was a loophole in the constitution – meaning girls as young as 15 could get married with parental consent.
This year, Parliament voted unanimously to amend the constitution and harmonise the laws – an achievement that many thought would be impossible just a year ago.