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By Dr. Harriet Sakala, FAWEZA Alumni

From the Executive

STOP CHILD MARRIAGES , DO NOT WIFE HER! EDUCATE HER


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Stop child marriage

DO NOT WIFE HER! EDUCATE HER

The African girl is faced with so many obstacles in her growth and pursuit for education.  Key among them is early marriages. Child marriages rob young girls their childhood which is an essential part of their growth. The marriages could be forced, lured or caused by circumstances.Child marriage is a violation of children’s human rights. Despite it being prohibited by international law, many young girls continue to suffer the consequences of this harmful practice.

This was a common practice in the traditional African society but should have come to a halt at this day and age. However, some communities have held onto this bad practice and refused to let go without realizing the severity of its consequences. Economic hardship and conflict fuel early and forced marriages for girls.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child bridesThat is an alarming number and something needs to be done to save girls from the jaws of this harmful practice.

Child marriage denies girl’s access to education, health, freedom, exposes her to diseases and hastens the poverty cycle. Girls face violence and are abused in these marriages. They develop complications from having babies too young; child brides are at an extremely high risk for fistulas. The number of deaths through birth complications and violence in the marriage is high.

For how long will parents continue to marry off their young girls in exchange for a few cattle or pennies? What if we gave her an education that would go a long way? For how long will we make her take care of her children when she needs to be taken care of? What if we take care of her now and empower her to be a better woman in the future? For how long will we watch from a distance that young girl in a forced marriage being abused and think it is none of our business? It is our business to protect children from such harmful acts.

We all can put our efforts together and make her a student before making her a wife. It is not an individual but a collective responsibility of the governments, organizations, community and individuals to ensure that all young girls are taken to school and not married off.

Don’t be left behind. Say NO to child marriages……it begins you and me.

Please visit www.fawe.org for regular news updates.

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