President Peter Mutharika on April 2 assented to the Constitutional amendments raising the child age from 16 to 18, and marriage age to 18.
The amendments set a constitutional framework for the protection of all children from early marriage and harmonise legal instruments prohibiting child marriage.
Meanwhile, the United Nations office in Malawi, and non-government organisations (NGOs) under the NGO Coalition on Child Rights (NGO-CCR) have welcomed the President’s action.
In an interview, UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo said the UN hopes that the constitutional amendments will build a collective approach of zero-tolerance towards child marriage, and the harm it causes, especially to adolescent girls.
“The journey embarked on by the government, Parliament, civil society and other partners, last year, shows that by working together, we can bring positive change for all children in Malawi, including the most vulnerable girls,” said Seppo.
On her part, ITina Yu, country director for Save the Children, a member of NGO-CCR, said the constitutional amendments will help to keep girls in school.