Girls who go through child marriage are disoriented physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically. Six of the world’s 10 countries with the highest rate of child marriage is found in West and Central Africa. The rate in Africa is still high about 41 % of young girls marry before age 18. In the industrial revolution era, in many and different parts of the globe, including Asia, China, India, Africa, etc. women were married off, immediately after puberty, these were the period where society was mostly characterized by agricultural practices as occupations, here child marriage was a common norm.
As years passed by, and civilization set in, it was of great hope that the practices would end. It is actually the opposite, the rate is still alarming with girls as young as 9 years being married off and immaturely turned into wives later ending as teenage mothers.Young girls, who are married off, are pulled out of school and face diverse trauma, especially during pregnancy. This practice boils down and piles into different problems hindering the sustainable development of society.
This problem has become a top priority for most of the international institutions including African Union, ECOWAS, UNICEF, UNFPA, and other governmental agencies to end child marriage in Africa as they have developed policies and strategies to eradicate the issue. At the core, child marriage is rooted in gender inequality and the ideology that girls and women are inferior to boys and men.
Drivers of the decade old problem
Child marriage in Africa is a complex issue. There are several causes of this harmful practice; they include, lack of education, poverty, cultural practices, etc. Nevertheless, the cause or drivers for the practice vary from one country to the other as well as one community to the other
UNICEF is one of the prominent institutions that are working tirelessly against child marriage in Africa. The institution has designed strategies to hasten progress toward change. Some of the strategies put in place including facilitating and promoting community dialogue between community heads and community opinion leaders to ensure that every household protects adolescent girls and make sure they stay in school, supporting the health, psychological health and providing the needs of adolescent girls. Educating parents and traditional rulers on the dangers of child marriage, and how it distorts the future of the adolescent girl. All African countries are faced with the problem of girl child marriage, a traditional practice that robs girls of their destiny, education, health, and their potential to be successful in life.
According to Educating Girls and Ending Child Marriage: A Priority for Africa report, one-third of girls in Sub –Sahara Africa marry before 18 each year. Now, the region has the highest prevalence of child brides in the world. The practice does not only affect these young brides it goes along way to affect the children they give birth to, their health, education, and standard of living.
Article from AFRIC Editorial
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