Re-using of radio transmitters prevents child marriages in Malawi

Re-using of radio transmitters prevents child marriages in Malawi

42 per cent of all girls under the age of 18 in Malawi are subjugated to child marriages. Plan and Norkring are doing something about this.

The FM band has until 2017 provided radio coverage in Norway, and will now do the same for young people in Malawi, and give them important knowledge about young citizens’ rights. 14 radio transmitters from the dismantled FM band will now be used for transmitting knowledge.

Today (Thursday 21 March) is the launch date of the new radio network in Malawi. This means that the youth channel Radio Timveni moves up from 40 per cent to near 100 per cent coverage in Malawi. Radio Timveni is for and run by local youth. The channel advances young voices in society and use radio as a tool for the prevention of child marriages.

It is the company Norkring, who owns, operates and builds the broadcasting network in Norway, who has given the transmitters as gifts, so that the radio broadcasts can make an important difference.

“This is an important day for Norkring, Plan International and Radio Timveni. We are happy that our old FM transmitters and our competencies give children and youth in Malawi opportunities. Our employees are passionate about radio. It is good to know that we can contribute so that young girls will not be married, but can go to school and have a future, like our own kids”, says Torbjørn Ø. Teigen, CEO in Norkring.

Even though Malawi introduced a ban on child marriages in 2017, the practice is still widespread. Furthermore, it is difficult to reach out with information to the population about the law amendment due to high levels of illiteracy. Radio is therefore important to spread the word.

“Radio is the most important channel to make people aware of how to prevent child marriages. All of the youth in Malawi will have access to radio with the 14 FM transmitters from Norkring. We are proud of our partner Norkring. This shows that partnerships between aid organizations and the business community is key to reach UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to stop all child marriages within 2030”, says Kari Helene Partapuoli, Secretary General in Plan International Norway.

Malawi has among the highest proportion of child marriages in Africa – 42 per cent, according to Girls Not Brides, a global network of organizations working against child marriages. The average age of the population in the country is very low, and it is critical that the youth receives information to make a positive development.

For more information, please contact:

Silje Budeng | Senior Communications Advisor | Plan International Norway
Phone: +47 481 58 313 | Silje.Budeng@plan-norge.no

Ingrid Dietrichson | Director Communications | Norkring AS
Phone: +47 905 66 471 | ingrid.dietrichson@telenor.com