This October 10, Emma Watson, as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, visited the country to celebrate the achievements of UN Women, the Malawian Government, local chiefs and girls who have returned to school after having their marriages annulled.
“Meeting with young girls, who like many in their country, are struggling with poverty and were pressured into early marriage, depriving them of their education in the process, made me realize just how important it is for women to be able to make their own choices, said Ms. Watson, adding: “It’s so encouraging to see how such a harmful practice can be stopped when communities work together to pass laws, and then turn those laws into reality.”
Emma’s visit brings to light the work of these communities and their international partners. In Dedza, a district in Central Malawi, she met with Chief Kachindamoto, a prominent leader in the fight to end child marriage whose efforts have earned her the nickname ‘The Terminator,’ thanks to her tireless efforts. Ms. Watson praised Chief Kachindamoto, who “has implemented the annulment of so many child marriages and restored the future of these girls. With the help and collaboration of her local chiefs, mothers’ group and religious leaders, she has managed to annul almost 1,500 child marriages, sending the girls back to school. Because of bold and brave leadership like this, things may start to change. It was amazing to be on the ground with UN Women to witness their work!”
The UN marks the International Day of the Girl Child annually on 11 October. This year’s theme is ‘Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls,’ and urges stakeholders to take the opportunity provided by the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs to harness the data required to ensure programmes, policies and services effectively respond to the specific needs of girls.