AFRICA/MALAWI - Teenage pregnancy and early marriage in Malawi

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 women  


Blantire (Agenzia Fides) - The phenomenon of single mothers is a reality that affects many women in Malawi. In most districts in the southern part of Malawi, it is customary that when girls reach a certain age they go into initiation camps where they are encouraged to try out having sex with boys in order to test their maturity called "kutsatsa fumbi" in local language. In fact, in Malawi teenage pregnancy and early marriage, in particular in rural areas, are fueled by beliefs and traditional practices. Thanks to a joint initiative between the Malawi government, traditional leaders, churches, United Nations organisations and non-governmental organisations such as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), 600,000 teenage mothers have gone back to school across Malawi since 2014. In addition, an ADRA Malawi Project called ‘When a mother is a child’, 300 adolescent mothers are being assisted. A recent Malawi Development Goals End Line Survey found that one out of every two girls is married before the age of 18 and some as early as 12-years old. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 19/01/2016)