Girls from Moa Wharf and Hope interim care centre were proud to join the African Union’s campaign to END CHILD MARRIAGE NOW, launching today in Freetown, Sierra Leone. At the launch of the new national campaign the girls took the opportunity to speak out against Child Marriage and support the new campaign Her Choice: End Child Marriage Now!
Child marriage denies the girl her right to education; her right to sexual and reproductive health and her right to choose her own destiny. Speaking before the launch event Mama Mayila Yansaneh said:
“A girl must be old enough to make an informed choice about her marriage. It is a denial of a girl’s basic human rights - the right to choose – the right for every girl, every woman to choose what to do with her life - whether to marry, who to marry and when to marry.”
ENGAGE, EDUCATE & MOBILIZE 2 END CHILD MARRIAGE NOW!
The new national campaign to END CHILD MARRIAGE NOW focuses on peer to peer education by children for children about their rights so that all children are empowered to say NO.
The campaign focuses on engaging, educating and mobilizing communities so everyone understands that Child Marriage is something harmful to children and everyone knows who to go to prevent a child marriage taking place and girls are empowered to be in school and not the matrimonial home.
HER CHOICE: LET GIRLS BE GIRLS, NOT MOTHERS
In common with many West African nations (and other countries across the developing world), Sierra Leone faces the challenge of adapting traditional practices which are now proved harmful to children, such as child marriage.
Sierra Leone has long-campaigned to end violence to children and now focuses on tackling specific gender-based violence - child marriage – which traumatizes the girl and violates a child’s innocence. Marriage stops a girl’s education in its tracks and too often, leads to a lifetime of poverty, violence and insecurity.
Although great strides have seen child marriage rates tumble from 56% ten years ago today, in Sierra Leone, 39 out of every 100 children still face marriage before they are 18 and 13 out of every 100 before they are 16. Girls without education are 3 times more likely to be married than those with a secondary education.
CHILD MARRIAGE: THE LINK TO FGM
Child marriage takes place in the same communities that practice cutting or female genital mutilation (FGM) now also proved harmful to children. In many cases, cutting goes hand in hand with child marriage, being carried out before the wedding takes place. Engaging, educating and mobilizing communities to end child marriage can also impact positively on reducing FGM.
HER CHOICE: END CHILD MARRIAGE NOW! DELIVER FOR #HERCHOICE
#ENDCHILDMARRIAGE - DELIVER NOW - DELIVER FOR GOOD
 Girls Not Brides, Ford Foundation report (2013)
 UNFPA, country profile (2010)
 Unicef data (2016)
 Marrying too Young, UNFPA (2012)
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