Over 70% of girls in Malawi are forced into early marriages below the age of 16. This affects their right to education and quality health hence spreading HIV and other health problems including maternal deaths. This project will establish school fund bursaries to support girls get back to schools, provision of vocational and entrepreneurial training to older girls that can not go back to school and establish 5 early childhood development centers for children born to these mother to attend.
Early forced marriages do not only affect girls and children. They affect the whole family and community. Increased number of girls forced to marry increases school drop outs and health related challenges. Most early forced marriages to not last as both the boys and girls are not ready to meet the cost of living hence contributing to the vicious cycle of poverty. There are 70% of teen mothers in Malawi with no safety nets with children facing nutrition and other health needs.
We will train withdraw girls already in early forced marriages, rehabilitate them and motivate them to go back to school. Girls who cant return to school for various reasons will be motivated to vocational training. Life skills education and small scale capital will be provided to these girls. To give girls chance to learn, children born to these girls will be attached to early childhood services to access nutritious food and other health services and medicine.
Communities with educated girls will develop quickly. Once girls are withdrawn from early marriages, HIV, STIs and maternal death will reduce in Nkhotakota district. Over 3400 girls will live productive lives after being trained in vocational skills, supported in bursaries and business opportunities. The project will benefit over 1200 children with nutrition, early childhood and psycho social support. Girls will run micro ventures to earn a living and will not depend on marriage for basic needs.