Together we can work to protect girls against child marriage and trafficking in Northern Malawi where it is a matter of major concern to government, NGOs and schools. We have teamed up with the Livingstonia Synod AIDS Programme (LISAP) who work with parents in the villages to protect girls who, for one reason or another, are removed from school and are often married or trafficked. Mercy Sibande, MMF Malawi Manager, and Moira Dunworth, Trustee, met Gray Sidira, Director of LISAP to share joint concerns. As a result we now have a direct route for Mercy to refer girls whose absence from school causes her child protection concerns. MMF and LISAP can work together so that LISAP can start to trace the missing girls as early as possible.
The minimum legal age of marriage is now 18 but this does not protect all girls in Malawi. For two NGOs, one small (us!) and one much larger (LISAP), to work together against this harmful cultural practice is just how we should all work and we are grateful to Mr Sidira for his welcome and for LISAP’s enthusiastic co-operation.