Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney and Melinda French Gates announced last year a collaboration between their foundations to combat the problem. According to the NGO, Girls Not Brides, Malawi has one of the highest child marriage rates in Eastern and Southern Africa, with 42% of girls already married by the age of 18. After announcing their collaboration to combat child marriage last year, Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney and Melinda French Gates visited Malawi and South Africa together to amplify the work of grassroots organisations focusing on the issue, and to meet girls and women whose lives have been affected. According to Unicef, 650 million girls and women are alive today who married under the age of 18, and currently more than 12 million girls a year marry in legal and traditional ceremonies around the world. South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have the highest rates globally, but this is not just an issue in the global south.