MWAPE MWENYA, Lusaka
ONE.ORG, an international non-governmental organisation, is disappointed with African parents who marry off their girl children as a means to fight poverty.
The organisation ambassador Abisola Aiyeola said in an interview that early, forced and child marriages only expose girls to diseases and gender-based violence as well as deprive them of their right to education.
Ms Aiyeola, a former Big Brother Naija participant, said it is sad that only three percent of girls in north-east of Nigeria complete their education while others dropout for various reasons, among them, marriage.
“I am appealing to parents in Africa to take education for their girls seriously, as they say; when you educate a girl, you educate the world. Organisations should rise up to this challenge and ensure that our voices are heard on the continent,” she said.
Ms Aiyeola was among delegates in Zambia that attended the Girls Education Conference in Africa that attracted more than 500 delegates from across Africa.
Ms Aiyeola commended the media for its efforts in disseminating information that promotes girls’ education.
She said African governments should put in place policies to allow every girl attain quality education as opposed to marriage.
“I know this is a long journey which cannot happen overnight but as long as we keep pushing and rendering our voices, we will get there some day,” she said.
She said it is saddening for society to perceive that a girl’s place is in the kitchen and taking care of children while boys should be in school.
“With the coming of social media and other technological devices, it will help in spreading goodwill messages to concerned parties on the importance of girls’ education and the negative impact of marrying off young girls,” she said.
She said advocating girls’ education should not only be left to Government, organisations working to improve the welfare of the needy in society and individuals should join the bandwagon.