Save the Children, a key stakeholder that has been actively advocating for the harmonization of the definition of a child in the country, has commended Parliament for finally passing the Constitutional Amendment Bill on the same.
In approving the amendment Bill on Tuesday, the House unanimously agreed to have Section 22, subsections (7) and (8) of the Constitution wiped out, to accommodate the new definition of a child.
Furthermore, Parliament amended Section 23 of the Constitution by deleting the clause on subsection (6) that read; “For purposes of this section, children shall be persons under sixteen years of age, and replacing it with “A child shall be a person under the age of eighteen years.”
And speaking in Lilongwe on Thursday during her maiden interface with the local media, the organisation’s newly unveiled country manager, Tina Yu, called the passing of the Bill as a great milestone in promoting child rights in the country.
“As a child-centred organization, we look at this constitutional amendment as an instrument to keeping girls in school and we remain hopeful that this development will be key in the country’s efforts towards ending child marriages which, unfortunately, are still rampant in the country.
“We are also optimistic that the [State] President will assent to this very important legislative piece of the constitutional amendment on child age and moving this country towards a brighter future of the child” She added.
As an organization, Save the Children has been part of the task force advocating for the raise in marriage age to 18 in a bid to have the Constitution and the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act at both national and local level, harmonised.
The organization, which is part of the “More than Brides” alliance, has also been the voice in bringing change through its ‘Marriage No Child’s Play’ project.