October 10, 2016

Emma Watson in Malawi to shine spotlight on need to end child marriages



From Emma:

I had the most amazing day in Malawi today. 
Thank you President Mutharika for being a #HeForShe Impact Champion and for making gender equality a priority in your Government! Thank you to all the traditional leaders who are implementing President Mutharika's policies - especially Chief Kachindamoto (she’s in the photo with me, she’s formidable and has been nicknamed “The Terminator”!). She gave me such a warm welcome today. She has implemented the annulment of so many child marriages and restored the futures of these girls. With the help and collaboration of her local chiefs, mothers’ groups and religious leaders she has managed to annul almost 1500 child marriages, sending the girls back to school. President Mutharika has committed to make child marriage a thing of the past in Malawi within the next five years. It was amazing to be on the ground with @UNWomen and Chief Kachindamoto to witness their work! 
My @tomenyc white shirt is made from organic cotton and is part of their 'White Shirt Project’ campaign. The project was conceived in 2014 to raise funds and awareness for the Freedom for All charity, which is fighting human trafficking and modern day slavery.
The silk skirt is by @zady. Zady partnered with @cocccon_prakesh, founded in 2012 by Chandra Prakash Jha, a fashion designer who wanted to help his community through fairer wages and a safer, more sustainable process. Instead of using toxic pesticides on the plants that the silkworm caterpillars eat, the farmers protect the trees by covering them with mosquito nets to protect the leaves from harmful birds and insects. Then the silk is brought to New York where expert sewers in New York’s famed Garment District create each piece.
Sandals by @nisoloshoes. The sandals were made by a team of expert shoemakers in Trujillo, Peru in a factory owned and operated by Nisolo that celebrates fair trade wages, safe working conditions, healthcare for all employees, and financial literacy & wellness training.


On the eve of International Day of the Girl Child, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson today visited Malawi to shine a global spotlight on the need to end child marriage. She met with traditional chiefs and girls who have returned to school after having marriages annulled.

In 2015, Malawi passed the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act, raising the minimum age of marriage to 18. UN Women, together with partners, played an integral role in advocating the new law and works with traditional chiefs to change local practices.

President of Malawi, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, a HeForShe Impact Champion, has set the ambitious goal to fully implement the new marriage law within five years and appointed a special task force to that end which directly reports to him.

“Spending the day in the beautiful country of Malawi has been a moving and inspiring experience for me. 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. 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,” said Emma Watson. “I applaud and thank our HeForShe Impact Champion President Mutharika for making this issue a priority in his Government, as well as all the traditional leaders—especially Chief Kachindamoto (so formidable, she has been nicknamed “The Terminator”!). She has implemented the annulment of so many child marriages and restored the futures of these girls. With the help and collaboration of her local chiefs, mothers’ groups and religious leaders, she has managed to annul almost 1500 child marriages, sending the girls back to school. President Mutharika has committed to make child marriage a thing of the past in Malawi within the next five years. 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!”

Globally, one-third of girls in developing countries, excluding China, are married before the age of 18, denying them their childhood and their right to go to school. They are also exposed to other vulnerabilities such as physical and sexual abuse and early pregnancy, making them mothers before they are physically or emotionally ready. Malawi has one of the world’s highest rates of child marriage. Half of girls are married before the age of 18, many because their families are too poor to support them. Teen pregnancies contribute to 20-30 per cent of maternal deaths in the country, and the low share of girls, only about 45 per cent, remaining in school past the 8th grade.

“Progress is not possible without investing in women and girls. They are our future and constitute half of any society’s promise and resources,” stated UN Women Country Representative Clara Anyangwe. “The Sustainable Development Goals won’t be achieved without the contribution of women and girls. We want a Planet 50-50 by 2030 and we need to step it up for gender equality. This is why UN Women in Malawi has made ending child marriage a top priority for change.”

Around the world, UN Women advocates for the adoption and implementation of laws and policies that prohibit and prevent child marriage. It also empowers girls to know their rights, and rallies communities to take a stand against the practice.

Emma Watson’s visit provided her with a first-hand experience of the work that traditional leaders are doing in communities to end child marriage and bring girls back to school. The new law in Malawi took 12 years to pass, but now codifies practice. Customary marriages are regulated by traditional leaders. This is why UN Women has engaged with local chiefs.

In the district of Dedza Watson met with Senior Chief Kachindamoto, a prominent champion in the fight to stop child marriage. The Chief has annulled nearly 1,500 such marriages among her constituents, and suspended village heads who have consented to the practice. Together with other traditional leaders, she has also developed a model bylaw that is aligned to the national law and applies to child marriages. It seeks to outlaw all child marriages, harmful cultural practices and gender-related abuses.

Chief Kachindamoto recalled how seeing 14-year-old girls who already had two children compelled her into action. Today, besides annulling marriages, she spends time speaking with girls about their rights and future, and persuades their parents to be supportive. “I try to convince them that if you educate your girl you will have everything in the future,” she said.

At Mtakataka Secondary School, Watson heard from girls who have been freed from marriage and returned to school. Among them was Stella Kalilombe, who described being forced into early marriage at the age of 17 when she was pregnant. Her son is now four years old. Physical abuse by her husband prompted her to return to her parents’ house. Encouraged by local mothers’ groups, she returned to school. She is grateful for efforts by the local traditional chiefs and the mothers’ groups to reduce discrimination against young mothers in schools, which can otherwise derail their attempts to continue education. Today, she is determined to finish school and dreams of becoming a teacher herself: “I have always admired female teachers. That is who I would like to be!”


julianalunguzi




22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think she has found her way - and I also think its a good way! Maybe to much Hollywood smile!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad emma has made this trip, yes, she has taken two years in make this trip, but I'm glad that finally you've done, see these situations helps you improve as a person, and to know what happens in the world and see the injustices in the world

PDXP said...

Definitely an issue more people need to know about.

Anonymous said...

I wish she makes a separate post about what clothes she wore to events and not lump it all together with the activities she does with UN. It just puts the focus off the good things being done.

Anonymous said...

At last.
Perfect campaign for EW to participate in. Highlighting an issue which impacts on girls in 3rd World countries, but also visiting a country which is seeking to make a difference.
Really wish she would concentrate on issues such as this and others raised in the video posed by Eden in late September.
The argument may be made that the HeforShe program allies itself with these problems. but in my view, too much focus is put on 'middle class' issues by that project.
Running for 2 years but its landmark anniversary report is on 'gender equality in Universities'.

The screenshot from the 'Hurdles' video that Emma voiced;

15 million child brides every year
62 million girls are still out of school
1 in 3 women still experience violence

I hope EW uses her celebrity where it is most needed.
Where it will have most impact to the lives of girls/women.
People hopefully will listen to her voice when they see wrongs or injustice.
The 'Hurdles' video illustrates desperate issues and to put it bluntly the real world pointlessness of worrying about gender equality in Universities.

Ross Taggart said...

More excellent work highlighting the problems women face and what, and by who is being done to address them.

Anonymous said...

Excellent for Emma to support such an endeavor as to educate to stop child marriages.

Unknown said...

She is a champion of champions as she had successfully made her trip....

Ross Taggart said...

I am sure the Women assaulted in University may disagree. All such crimes against women the world need to be brought into the light. For one Woman Emma is doing remarkably well all things considered.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Anon who said it took her two years to make a trip such as this realizes she's been to Zambia about three years ago and to Bangladesh about six years ago. Honestly, do your research before you make ignorant comments.

Anonymous said...

Am I dreaming ? This must be a dream. This radiance . Every smile unbelievable. Wow.

Vicky George said...

It's great to see Emma out and about talking to those "on the firing line" so to speak. It's also good to know that Malawi Govt. are actively helping women in their country.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Anon who said it took her two years to make a trip such as this realizes she's been to Zambia about three years ago and to Bangladesh about six years ago. Honestly, do your research before you make ignorant comments.
Sorry but I meant, since she is an ambassador for the UN she did not have any trip to an underdeveloped country, before yes, but in these two years not, and I'm glad she finally made this trip.
On the other hand, I would have to be specified, but it was not necessary called me ignorant,to me and my comments.
Thank you for your attention

Eden said...

If you want me to delete the comment calling you "ignorant" I will (my eyes seem to have skipped that part when I published it, sorry). I'll have to delete your last one too though otherwise it'll look silly.

Anonymous said...

You do not worry Eden, It is not necessary delete the comment
I wnat this person read my comment
Thanks you lovely :)

Anonymous said...

wnat
Want*

Ross Taggart said...

Her smile is lovely even when it is a little nervous what she doing is not easy. Look again anon.

Anonymous said...

es bueno saber que el gobierno de malawi ayuda a tantas mujeres...

Anonymous said...

So proud of Emma! Funny that ONTD or Dailymail dont post one single note about her amazing activism. Oh wait! They hate her...

Anonymous said...

Many celebrities do similiar projects for a short time. It could be tedious to mention each little project that a celebrity gets involved in for a short time. Now if she made it her life's work and got results that would be much more interesting, but she is just a lil actress trying to be important.

Anonymous said...

IS EMMA WEARING BRACES AGAIN: hER SMILE IS BEAUTIFUL; BUT THERE SEEMS TO BRACES IN HER MOUTH:

Anonymous said...

Still better than Just selfie/foods/rich Instagram celebs!
Go Emma. Your work is SO IMPORTANT !So proud!!