Project - Education - Background
The Senior Chief Annuls Child Marriages
Senior Chief Theresa Kachindamoto has used her position of authority to fight for women and girls' rights.
One of her accomplishments is annulling more than 850 child marriages over the past three years in Dedza District. After seeing girls as young as 12 with babies, Kachindamoto decided to put an end to these unions.
Last year Malawi banned children from marrying before the age of 18. However, children could still be married with their parents' consent under certain customary laws.
In order to make change in her district Kachindamoto got 50 sub-chiefs to sign an agreement to annul any existing child marriages and ban future ones. When four chiefs refused to honour the agreement, she supended them until they annulled the marriages.
Following this, Kachindamoto used her own money to send the children back to school. She believes that Malawian children today have more opportunities than they had in the past, which is why education is so important.
The chief has now created a network of parents to ensure that these girls stay in school.