Children’s Rights Standards and Child Marriage in Malawi


  • Leah Mwambene
  • Obdiah Mawondza


Child marriages occur when one of the parties is below the age of eighteen. In Malawi, research has shown that most child marriages are a result of cultural practices. To comply with various international and regional instruments, Malawi has enacted different pieces of legislation that can be useful in addressing child marriage. The article, therefore, examines these different pieces of legislation and assesses Malawi’s compliance with international standards in addressing child marriages. The authors highlight two imperative issues. First, these laws show evidence of using international children’s rights standards as a tool in addressing child marriages. Secondly, they prescribe conflicting approaches that one can interpret as to encouraging child marriages linked to cultural practices. As a result, the article suggests possible recommendations on how Malawi can comply with international standards in addressing child marriages. These include amendment of laws, and more importantly, enactment of a specific law, for example, the Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, which, if enacted, should target all laws and cultural practices that lead to child marriages in Malawi.