When Knocked up, Tie the Knot… or Not?: The Interlinkages between Teenage Pregnancy and Child Marriage in Machinga District in Southern Malawi

Alister C. Munthali, University of Malawi
Lincie Kusters, Royal Tropical Institute
Darlen Dzimwe, Centre for Social Research
Maryse Kok, Researcher

This paper explores key drivers of child marriage in Southern Malawi. Data were collected through focus group discussions with young people and adults and in-depth interviews with young people, parents or caregivers, traditional and religious leaders, teachers and health workers; and key informants comprising of NGO staff and government officials. A questionnaire was administered to 1,596 youth aged 15-24, 75% were female. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic content analysis while survey data were analysed using SPSS. Beside poverty and prevailing cultural practice, pregnancy is one of the key drivers of child marriage. This is because once a girl gets pregnant she is supposed to marry immediately. The promotion of contraceptive use among young people and ensuring access to comprehensive sexuality education for youth would reduce the prevalence of teenage pregnancy and consequently lead to reducing the prevalence of child marriage.

See paper.

  Presented in Session 20. Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights