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Education key in child marriage fight

EDUCATION is one single strategy, which can have telling results in the fight against child marriage along with other strategies, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.
UNICEF country representative Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim said this at the commemoration of the Day of the African Child (DAC) under the theme: “Let children be children: Stop child marriages now”!
The DAC is commemorated every year on June 16 by member States of the African Union (AU) and its partners to recall the 1976 uprising in Soweto, when a protest by school children in South Africa against apartheid inspired education resulted in the public killing of the unarmed young protesters by police officials.
“We believe children have to enrol in school at the right time, stay in school and finish secondary education to delay the age of marriage,” Dr Ibrahim said.
He said the provision of quality primary and secondary education is cardinal in addressing the challenge of child marriage.
Dr Ibrahim also stressed the importance of a strong social welfare system, saying families and children living in vulnerable circumstances that can lead to a child marrying need to be identified early so that they can get the necessary support.
“Be it cash transfer, support and referrals to help deal with violence in the family or referral to life skill programmes, strengthening social welfare system is critical to our efforts to stop child marriage,” Dr Ibrahim said.
And Sylvia Zulu 17, a Grade 12 pupil from Twin Palm Secondary School said it is disheartening that girls are forced into marriage at the expense of being in school.