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Theses Master's

Ending Child Marriage in Malawi: A Gatekeepers Approach to Changing Norms

Richardson, Caitlin

It is estimated that globally each year over 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. The practice has numerous detrimental consequences on a girl’s health and well-being that stand in clear violation of her human rights. While there has been a plethora of literature dedicated to the topic of child marriage in recent years, little attention or outcome analysis has been directed towards the gatekeepers approach in changing norms around this practice. This thesis will seek to fill this void by focusing specifically on the strategies that civil society organizations have implemented within Malawi, a county with one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, to target the gatekeepers in a community and, in the process, change attitudes and beliefs around child marriage at a grassroots level. In doing so, this thesis concludes that the gatekeepers approach has been shown to be a successful and essential strategy when working to change norms, as long as it is implemented in a holistic and context-specific manner and is implemented along with the girl-centric approach.

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Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Dauer, Sheila
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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