Child marriage remains a crippling issue within the African continent today. Young girls are forced into marriage due to a lack of education; poverty or by their parents – for monetary and status gains; as well as due to the belief that it may protect them from sexually transmitted diseases and a promiscuous lifestyle.
The effects are damaging and long term. Young girls who become brides inevitably become pregnant and may suffer severe reproductive issues due to their bodies not having matured. These health issues are not just limited to physical complications such as obstetric fistula, still births as well as maternal and child mortality, but can also be emotional and psychological. If a child bride is fortunate to birth a child, their children may be thrown within the cycle of a lack of education, then poverty and most likely being married off as a child.
Child marriage fuels the vicious cycle of poverty and modern day enslavement because of the deprivation of education and the denial of basic human rights. Harmful traditional practices such as child marriage will continue to hold Africa back and cripple our current and future generations unless we tackle this scourge systemically and decisively.
The African Union Commission takes partnerships seriously and appreciates the support of its partners (financial and/or technical) to the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa. As the task of ending child marriage requires collective and multisectoral collaboration, it continues to explore the opportunities of expanding its partnerships on the continent and beyond.