A national plan aimed at ending the practice of child marriage was unveiled on Monday in Mozambique, a country that is notorious for their high rate of child brides in the world. This practice affects the lives of nearly half of the young girls in the country.
See Also: Good News! Zimbabwe Bans Baby Marriage
The coordinator of Girls Not Brides Mozambique Albino Franscisco expressed happiness over the new strategy which the campaign group has helped the government in achieving “(This is) a cause for celebration, and should inspire our African neighbours to do the same,” said Albino Francisco.
According to UNICEF, Mozambique records the world’s tenth highest rate of child marriage, with an estimated 48% of their girls getting married by the time they turn 18 while 14% marry before the age of 15.
Campaigners against child marriage say that population growth is a reason to believe that the number of child brides is on the increase, though Mozambique recorded a slight fall in the rate of child marriage.
Girls Not Brides reveals the national strategy that outlines the necessary steps to ending child marriage including an awareness drive, improving girls’ access to education, sexual and reproductive health services, sex education and legal reforms.
Plunging into marriage too early will not only deprive young girls of education and opportunities but also expose them to fatal dangers and risk of premature death which could happen as a result of serious childbirth injuries if they have babies before their bodies are mature enough.
Experts are of the view that child brides are at greater risk of domestic and sexual violence and HIV.
Different reasons are given in different countries for child marriage, but the common factors that lead to this social evil are poverty and lack of education.
A shocking revelation by campaigners states that in some areas, little girls as young as nine go through some initiation rites where they are tutored on how to please a man in bed and also perform domestic duties at home. This serves as part of preparations for marriage which could commence anytime.
At least 15 million young girls get a taste of this social evil every year in the world.