By Watipaso Mzungu
India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) have committed to provide additional financial support towards local initiatives aimed at eliminating child marriages and gender disparities in Malawi, especially in the rural areas.
The ambassadors of the three countries to Malawi made the pledge on Monday in Dedza where UN Women is implementing the pilot Eliminating Child Marriages Project with funding from India, Brazil and South Africa.
The project, which is under implementation in nine additional districts across the country, provides financial and material support to girls who have been withdrawn from marriages to enable them return to school.
And speaking in an interview after interacting with some of the project beneficiaries and other stakeholders, the Indian High Commissioner to Malawi, Anurag Bhushan, said they were impressed with the success the Government of Malawi is registering towards eliminating child marriages.
“Gender issues are always very difficult to tackle. Not only they have socioeconomic challenges, but there are also structural factors. But even then, their impact on their children are very disturbing. But I am very happy that the people of Malawi are tackling these challenges,” said Bhushan.
He said he was generally impressed with the level of community mobilization and participation in the initiatives designed to address the monster.
Bhushan assured that his government will not hesitate to provide additional support to interventions aimed at tackling child marriages and gender disparities.
On the other hand, the South African High Commissioner to Malawi, Prince Sigcau said he would be writing his government to consider provide more financial support to Malawi.
“I have no reason to deny you that support having seen what you are doing to eliminate child marriages in collaboration with local leaders,” said Sigcau.
UN Women Country Representative, Clara Anyangwe, disclosed that the project is supporting a total of 13, 450 girls child marriage survivors in 10 districts in the country with different with different life skills interventions.
Last month, the entity provided scholarships to 750 girls and young women in Dedza and Salima in an effort to keep child marriage survivors in school and to complete their education.
“UN Women has also donated a bicycle to each of the 750 girls and young women to ease mobility challenges they cited as a contributing factor to their dropping out of school.
“Both the scholarships and bicycles have been provided through the Eliminating Child Marriages Project, which is a pilot project being funded by the Indian, Brazilian and South African, IBSA/Facility,” said Anyangwe.