Let Girls Be Girls. Let’s #EndChildMarriage
The campaign to End Child Marriage
Every girl deserves an opportunity to grow up, fall in love, and get married to someone she loves and cares deeply about. Sadly, many girls are just sold off into marriage in very many cultures including in our own communities in Uganda. They are perceived only as home makers, so if anyone shows interest in them and can pay the dowry, the deal is sealed. Many times a girl grows up worried that just like many of her friends and peers. She begins asking herself, will I be given away in marriage? Will I be able to complete school? Will I also end up like my friend who was married off as a child? How will they look at me when I refuse?
The campaign aims to echo that our young girls need to be in school, studying and thinking about being mothers of this nation in the future, not mothers of fellow children in the future!
Why the campaign: Child marriage robs a girl of her childhood, and imposes adult roles and responsibilities on her before she is physically, psychologically and emotionally prepared. It isolates girls from their friends and families and disempowers them to refuse sex or negotiate condom /family planning use, making them vulnerable to teenage pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Child marriage also denies girls the opportunity to get an education and fully develop their potential, keeping them and their future families in poverty.
So what’s the plan? The plan is to engage the communities to have a mindset shift and stop making girls home makers but change makers by ending child marriages and consequently teenage pregnancies. It’s a plan to make girls proud and not ashamed without self-esteem. They must break free of cultural barriers tying their wings of freedom to make choices they want, dream of, and desire as young girls.
Where: Reach A Hand, Uganda with support from UNFPA Uganda will host inclusive dialogues in communities across the country both on ground and online with conversations transitioning to social media. The dialogues will feature a holistic engagement of key stakeholders on the issues of child marriage and teenage pregnancy and will be held in the districts of Kanungu, Gulu, Moroto, Katakwi, Butaleja and Mubende. It is from here that the dialogues will go online on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and on the streets.
Who should be involved/participate? Men and boys involvement is paramount. Religious cultural leaders, opinion leaders, district leaders should also be involved. This is not an issue about only girls but everyone. We must all stand up and say enough is enough! Elders must create an engaging and respectful way for the young ones and give a helping hand to them.
Join the conversation. Go online and join the hashtags #LetGirlsBeGirls and #EndChildMarriage. Don’t be left out. Let’s disseminate statistics, current situation opinions and life experiences around teenage pregnancy and child marriage on your Social Media platforms.
We appeal to young people to call the Toll Free Hotline on 0800 200 600 for more information. It is operated by CDFU.
At a glance: Teenage pregnancy and child marriage
- 20% of girls ages 15 to 19 are currently married
- 49% of girls are married before their 18th birthday
- Early marriage is the main contributing factor to teenage pregnancy
- 1 in 4 girls age 15 to 19 are already mothers or pregnant with their first child
- A girl between the age of 15 and 19 is twice as likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth as a woman in her 20’s
- Teenage mothers face higher risks of getting obstetric fistula
- Children born to teenage mothers have a higher risk of dying
- Teenage pregnancy and child marriage can lead to school drop-out, denying girls the opportunity to acquire skills and get a job
ECM CAMPAIGN IN THE MEDIA
Ending Child Marriage In Uganda And Beyond (GIrls Globe)
- Why child marriage in Uganda should be fought (New Vision)
- Mubende starts campaign against teenage pregnancies (New Vision)
- How well do you know about child marriage in Uganda? (SAUTIplus)
How well do you know about teenage pregnancy in Uganda?(SAUTIplus)
13-Year-Old's Pregnancy Ordeal (All Africa)
5 girls defiled in one primary school (JOY FOR CHILDREN-UGANDA)
5 girls defiled in one primary school (Daily Monitor)
13-year-old’s pregnancy ordeal (Daily Monitor)
- from 20 10 2015 12:00 AM to 30 11 2015 12:00 AM