Child Marriage in Africa

African governments should coordinate action to improve laws, education, health care, and public awareness to end child marriage. Forty percent of girls in sub-Saharan Africa marry before age 18, and African countries account for 15 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage. Child marriage has dire lifelong consequences, often severely reducing a girl’s ability to realize a wide range of human rights. Marrying early often ends a girl’s education, exposes her to domestic and sexual violence, increases serious health risks and death from early childbearing and HIV. It can also trap her in poverty. On November 26 and 27, the African Union held the first African Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage to highlight the devastating effects of child marriage, call for legal reform, and share information about good practices. Other continent-wide initiatives, including the campaign to end child marriage, which began in 2014, and the appointments of an African Union special reporter on child marriage and of a goodwill ambassador for the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage are all steps in the right direction. Now we just have to see these things move in action and see results. The results are needed and quickly, for everyday more children are forced into marriage and that is unjust. What do you think should be done?

Information based on a report from Human Rights Watch with Opinions from Raymond Iglesias, Youth Organizer, from Kids Meeting Kids.

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