Malawi has passed a law which prohibits the marrying off of under-age girls as child brides, raising the minimum age to 18 years.

Women rights campaigners have lauded the new law which is set to make an enormous impact on a country where, according to Reuters, half its girls end up becoming child brides.

But the activists have warned that child marriage would not be fully curbed without synchronised efforts to address poverty and regressive traditional practices.

“This law is extremely crucial because child marriage is a big, big problem in our country,” said parliamentarian Jessie Kabwila who helped push for the new legislation.

Malawi has one of the world’s highest rates of child marriage. 50 percent of girls end up married before they turn 18 and 12.5 percent are married before they turn 18. Besides social problems and the deprivation of education, the birth process also poses grave health risks to girls if their bodies are not ready.

Source: Reuters