The Ministry of Youth Affairs on Monday, 1st of October 2018, joined forces with UNFPA in the campaign against Child marriage. This campaign is in line with the UNFPA’s vision of ”Delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”
The Ministry of Youth Affairs with support from UNFPA, organized a day campaign in the Tombo community which attracted participants from Kent, Kassie and Waterloo communities, educating people on the need to send their kids to school and to resist any attempts at sending their female kids into early marriage. The campaign is premised on the belief that in ending child marriage, we strongly believe it will unleash the greatest human potential that we have in our women and girls.
The okada riders in the township, students, market women, youth leaders and community elders (stakeholders), joined the campaign in their numbers as we marched through the main streets into the market square.
Young girls in their school uniforms were actively involved as they sang songs and chanted slogans encouraging parents to take advantage of the free education scheme that has been introduced by President Julius Maada Bio’s led Government.
Community elders, students, youth leaders, and women leaders made very short statements encouraging all present to take full advantage of the free education by giving boys and girls equal rights and opportunities to be educated.
The erstwhile president of the Mass Communications Department, Miss Theriyeh Koroma, admonished parents, young people, students and community stakeholders that *”Education compliments EMPOWERMENT but child marriage stifles it.” Education stimulates growth while child marriage stifles growth and development.* Child marriage she stated holds no place in civilized societies. Our girls, she says, must be allowed to grow in peace, their human rights and liberties respected and there is no justification under the sun to send our female kids into early marriage,” she posited.
“Child Marriage,” she went on to say ” denies the girl child of her fundamental rights to quality education.” She was full of zest to tell parents and guardians to be in haste to expose our girls to education and not to early marriage.
At the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda stated that *”We never get out of poverty by marrying off our girls. We only get into more poverty. Thus ending child marriage is an economic governance issue”.*
The Component Manager attached at the Ministry of Youth Affairs, stated that the fight against child marriage should be undertaken by the Government, Civil Society Organizations, community stakeholders, Parents and Guardians, Young people and other partners. It takes all of us to end Child marriage.
He ended with the statement of Dr. Natalia Kanem, the Executive Director of UNFPA who said, ”We believe in the power of girls to change this world for the better. But to do that, they have to have a chance. Child marriage robs too many girls of that chance.”