Melissa Hillebrenner, Director of the UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign Says Malawi’s Decision to Ban Child Marriage Will Benefit Girls and Communities

Washington, D.C.

February 18, 2015


Megan Rabbitt

United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Director Melissa Hillebrenner today issued the following statement regarding the decision by Malawi’s Parliament to ban child marriage.

“The Malawian Parliament’s decision to ban child marriage and raise the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years old will give girls in Malawi greater opportunities to thrive to the benefit of themselves, their families, their communities, and the nation. UN partners and organizations such as Let Girls Lead played an instrumental role in advancing this movement to help end child marriage in Malawi.

“In Malawi, nearly half of all girls are married by the age of 18. These numbers rise in rural areas and within certain tribes. Girl Up has been working with the United Nations on a ‘Stop Child Marriage’ campaign that educates and mobilizes girls, boys, and families to stop the practice of child marriage. After over five years of advocacy with our key partners, the decision of the Malawian Parliament guarantees that a girl will have a chance at a childhood before marriage.

“Girl Up’s partners, including Let Girls Lead, have been working tirelessly to end child marriage in Malawi. Since 2009, Let Girls Lead has been providing leadership development, capacity building, and grant funding to individuals and organizations working to improve girls’ lives. To the credit of coalitions, organizations, individuals, and government representatives, the Malawian Parliament has made a huge step towards ending child marriage in the country.

“We are proud to stand with our partners who have been leading the charge to end child marriage in Malawi. This monumental decision by the Malawian Parliament ensures that girls will now have a chance to reach their full potential before getting married. This is a historic moment for Malawi and a transformative moment for adolescent girls.”


About The United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit