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The fight against Child Marriage in Africa

  • Posted by: lmensah
  • On: August 20, 2014

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Africa has been for a long time marrying off its girls in their early days. The girls are taken off to their husbands and for some; they do not even go through teenage life to full term before they are married off. A lot is being done in Africa to reduce the number of such cases, and later stop them completely. This has been highly contributed by the traditions of the various communities, poverty and the desire to protect their girls from early pregnancies. When the girls are married off, they are deprived of their desire to acquire education. This is because most of the girls are drawn from school. 

Stopping child marriages

In effort to protect the girls from child marriages, there are NGOs and other government efforts that are in place to see the end of this practice. For instance, there are efforts from the government to keep the girls in school. Making the education fees subsidized is a way to ensure poor families can afford education for their children. To some communities, girls are not to be taken to school for education due to traditions. Educating their parents on the need and importance of education will at least keep the girls in school for longer. Gender discrimination is also being wiped away, as it accompanies the fact that girls are not allowed to attend school.

Other efforts that are being made are stopping FGM. This is another vice in Africa that seems to go in hand with the child marriages. This is a tradition procedure done to girls, who are believed to have attained to age of marriage. Once a girl has undergone the tradition, they are likely not to escape child marriages. This is because after this they are viewed as grown women who should be in their homes. This tradition is also slowly dying among the African communities.

Eradicating some traditions that state that a girl who is of certain age has to be married off is among other efforts. This is a difficult process, as the parents in turn marry their girls off in secrecy and give the girls away at night. When the girl’s parents are given the bride price, they have no right to take the child from her husband’s home.

Reality of child marriages

The child marriages are a reality in Africa, and have led to much negativity for the girls. First, the girls will go through abuse from their spouses, and worse still go through beating when they are pregnant. This is according to a recent study conducted; shows that most abuse cases are reported from marriages where the wives are less than 18 years. 

After the girls are married, they are exposed to the threat of getting HIV, due to lack of information. This is following abuse that girls go through. Sexual exploitation and abuse will make the girl go through unwanted and forced sex, leading to HIV contraction. The girls do not have knowledge of the virus.

The girls are married off at tender ages to men who are older than them. In most cases, the children do not have a role to play in their marriages. Their fathers are also in charge of choosing the husbands, who are likely age mates with their fathers.

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