Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Child marriage: jeopardising Africa’s future

Child marriage is still a reality for millions of girls across Africa. The African continent is home to 15 out of the 20 countries with the world’s highest rates of child marriage. Worldwide, approximately 15 million girls every year are married before they reach the age of 18. That is the equivalent of the entire population of Zimbabwe or Mali.



Child marriage jeopardises efforts to improve maternal and infant health and has devastating consequences for the girl, her family, and her future children. Child brides face higher risk of death and injury in pregnancy and childbirth, with girls under 15 being five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s. Their children are at risk too: when a mother is under 20 her baby is less likely live beyond its first birthday.



“I was only 15 when I had my first child and was nearly forced into getting married. I stood my ground and said no, and I went back to school” said Isatou Jeng, Project Officer at The Girls' Agenda, a Girls Not Brides member based in The Gambia. “I was able to take control of my own fate, and now I work to create an Africa where all girls can do the same”.     Child marriage: jeopardising Africa’s future

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