PERRYKENT NKOLE and Nâ€™GANDWE Nâ€™GANDWE
CHILD marriage is a threat to the lives and prospects of young girls. It violates their rights, deprives them of a happy childhood, disrupts their education, jeopardizes their health and limits their opportunities.
Child marriage robs girls of every opportunity to thrive. It violates girls rights to survival and development (which is one of the main principals of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it also denies them their health, education and the choice of when and whom to get married to. It is sad that worldwide15 million girls are married off every year before they reach 18. This means that a girl gets married off every two seconds.
Child brides are likely to drop out of school, hindering their personal development, preparation for adulthood and their ability to contribute to their family and community.
Education is one of the most powerful tools to delay the age at which girls get married as school attendance help shift norms around child marriage. Improving girlâ€™s access to duality schooling will increase girlâ€™s chances of gaining a secondary education and helps to delay marriage.
When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she gets married on average four years later. Child brides do not receive the educational and economic opportunities that help lift them and their family out of poverty and they are more likely to remain poor.
They also lack the knowledge or power to abstain from sex or negotiate for safer sexual practices, leaving them at a risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Girls who are forced into marriage at a tender age risk dying early or beinginjured: girls who give birth before the age of 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth, than those in their 20s.Â Their children are less likely to live beyond their first birthday.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu observed that Zambia has room for improvement in the fight against child marriage.
In an interview with the Childrenâ€™s News Agency during his visit to Zambia last month, the archbishop said he was encouraged with the efforts of stakeholders such as traditional leaders in the fight against child marriage.
Archbishop Tutu is a renowned child rights campaigner and founder of GIRLS NOT BRIDES, a global partnership to end child marriage
He explained that in the few days that he spent in Zambia he had meetings with most of the stakeholders who included government officials, traditional leaders, civil society organisations and religious leaders among others.
He said that it is important for state parties to the convention on the rights of the child to domesticate the rights in order to reduce child marriage.
Let us end child marriage and we will build a safer, healthier and an equal future for all.
The authors of this article, Perrykent Nkole and Nâ€™gandwe Nâ€™gandwe are members of the Childrenâ€™s News Agency (CNA), Lusaka Bureau. email@example.com