Let Girls Be Girls is a campaign Flood Church started to raise awareness about and fight against child marriage. We started this campaign in 2014 by creating the first ever citizens petition in Malawi, holding multiple events to raise support for the bill, and lobbying Parliamentarians to offer support for the bill.
50% of girls in Malawi are married before they are 18, the vast majority of those are forced into it by their parents or suitors.
One of the main goals of the Let Girls Be Girls campaign was to see the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill passed. This bill would make the legal age for marriage 18 years old, and had been sitting in Parliament for the past 7 years. Incredibly, the bill was finally passed in early 2015! Here is a bit more about the bill and its passing, written by one of the Flood staff.
We were planning a march in support of the bill at the end of February 2015 when the bill was going to be voted on. However, we got a call from the head of UN Women in Malawi, who we have been working closely with, and she said she heard a rumor that the bill was going to be read in Parliament. We called the Parliamentarians we have been working with and lobbying and it was confirmed that something with the bill would be happening Thursday. The Parliamentarian then invited us to come to Parliament because it would probably be announced when the vote would be, which would give us a better idea of when to schedule the march. He also wanted us to present our petition, since that had never happened in parliament before.
Amazingly this motion passed.
We are now shifting the focus of Let Girls Be Girls to education about the bill and offering support to those that have been effected by child marriage.