A call to end child marriage in Zim in-line with Day of the African Child

Representatives of Women and Law in Southern Africa, ‘Shamwari Yemwanaikana’ and ‘Women Coalition of Zimbabwe during ‘Child marriage press conference today (Pictures: Sharon Kavhu)

Sharon Kavhu

Harare, Zimbabwe- The Women Coalition of Zimbabwe; representatives of women’s rights organisations and activists have made a call to accelerate the current interventions to end child marriages as the later continues to affect lives of children in Africa negatively.

The call was made during a press briefing at Women Coalition of Zimbabwe offices this afternoon as a pre commemoration of the Day of the African Child which is honoured tomorrow June 16 under the theme: ‘The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity’.

In an interview, Women Coalition of Zimbabwe’s National coordinator Mrs Sally Ncube said it is imperative that solid steps are taken to protect the girl child from many infringements of her rights.

“There is a need to take concrete steps to protect the girl child from infringements of her rights to non-discrimination, equal access to and protection before the law, freedom of association: personal liberty, development, health, education, equality and security.”

Representatives of women’s rights namely: ‘Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association’, Women and Law in Southern Africa, ‘Shamwari Yemwanaikana’ and ‘Women Coalition of Zimbabwe’ suggest that child marriages significantly worsen the plight of girls as they result in loss of productivity in all aspects of their lives.

In a statement, the organisations highlighted: “Pregnancy forces young girls to drop out from schools, and their new born are also prone to insufficient care because inexperience in motherhood and child care as well as lack of resources.

“They are subsequently exposed to higher risks of death, injuries in childbirth, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Cervical cancer and domestic violence.”

According to the Women Coalition of Zimbabwe, at least 39 percent of girls in Africa are married before the age of 18 while 13 percent are married by the time they reach 15 years of age. On the other hand, the ZIMSTATS 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), one in three girls in rural areas is married before the age of 18.  The statistics has a prevalence of 43 percent in rural areas as compared to 18 percent in urban areas.

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June 2017
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