1. Background

Women’s Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC) is a women’s rights Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) whose secretariat is in Blantyre, but operates in fourteen other districts in Malawi. WOLREC is registered under the Trustees Incorporation Act (1962), CONGOMA and NGO Board. WOLREC’s mission is to facilitate increased access to legal, socio-political and economic justice for women and girls in Malawi. With the support from IM Swedish Development Partner, WOLREC has been implementing a programme that seeks to eliminate Child Marriage in Malawi and protect the rights of girls who are forced into child marriage.

WOLREC is collaborating on a multi-country research project alongside the Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE), Non-Governmental Gender Coordinating Council (NGOCC) and Rosaria Memorial Trust (RMT), to undertake interventions to end child marriage in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively. This is a multi-country research project that seeks to understand whether the COVID-19 pandemic has been a factor in perpetuating child marriage in the three countries; Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

WOLREC, in partnership with CYECE, NGOCC, and RMT, will recruit an independent consulting firm to conduct a research on the impact of COVID-19 on child marriage in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe; and to also consolidate the three country reports into one regional report. The results of the research will form a basis for policy advocacy messages targeting the SADC Parliamentary Forum and national governments to implement laws and strategies to end child marriage. The results will also enable the Regional Advisory and Advocacy Group (RAAG) partners to further develop and improve strategies for responding to child marriage, during the pandemic, after the pandemic as well as developing a tailor-made training curriculum for RAAG partner staff who are directly working on the programme on ending child marriage.

2. RAAG Partnership

The lead organisation in this project, WOLREC, is a part of the Regional Advocacy and Advisory Group (RAAG), which is a network quite instrumental in providing strategic guidance on regional approaches and strategies that can register impact on IM Swedish Development Partner’s partner ecosystem efforts in ending child marriage. Other RAAG partners include Justice for Children (JCT) & Rosaria Memorial Trust (RMT), both of Zimbabwe; Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC), Zambia; and Women Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC) & Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE), both based in Malawi. The Advisory Group also ensures that IM Swedish Development Partner is made aware of existing opportunities in the region, where participation can help to ameliorate the work and approaches on ending child marriage.

In this project, WOLREC is coordinating this three-country study to be conducted as part of a collaborative approach. The consultant contracted by WOLREC, in consultation with CYECE, will be the lead consultant in this research, but will work at two levels with the befitting research collaborators; a) to undertake the Malawi in-country study, and b) to undertake and consolidate the three-country reports into one regional analytical report. In Zambia, NGOCC will recruit an in-country consultant (research collaborator) while in Zimbabwe, RMT will agree on the recruitment and hosting of the consultant (research collaborator). The data obtained shall be analysed as country specific findings and thereafter, submitted to the lead consultant to be consolidated by the WOLREC consultant for a broader sub-regional analysis of findings. The focus of the regional analysis will be to identify any common variables, determine the causes and generate comparative findings that will inform policy advocacy and the RAAG strategies going forward. Part of the coordination for WOLREC will entail sharing the study methodology and defining target group parameters to the two RAAG partners – the Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) and Rosaria Memorial Trust (RMT), so as to ensure uniformity and quality assurance of the study.

3. Rationale

At the continental level, Child marriage affects girls in far greater numbers than boys, with the prevalence among boys being as low as one fifth (1/5) of the level among girls at global level. Available data confirms that in every region boys are less likely than girls to marry before age 18, even though there are some countries in which boys marry before age 18. However, data on the impact child marriage has on boys affected by child marriage are limited, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions on its socio-economic consequences. Conversely, research findings on the impact of child marriage on girls include; early pregnancy and the risks of dying in child birth or develo

Malawi Zambia and Zimbabwe

Blantyre, Malawi

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