Giving Compass’ Take:
• Lucy Sherriff explains how girls’ education can ward against child marriage, a common problem with enormous consequences for women, communities, and countries.
• How can funders help to increase access to quality education for girls? Where is there opportunity to make an impact?
• Learn why economic empowerment for women must involve men.
All too often girls in countries across sub-Saharan Africa can be married off an early age, trapping them in a cycle that is almost impossible to escape. But a charity, Camfed, is working to keep girls in school, in the belief that education can be the best protection against child marriage.
Camfed works in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Ghana, and says child marriage is both a consequence of poverty and perpetuates it.
In Africa, there are 125m child brides, with 39% of all girls in the sub-Saharan region married before the age of 18. Although many families believe child marriage provides a financial benefit, it often only exacerbates the situation.
Many child brides hope marriage will provide the opportunity to go to school, however they typically end up falling pregnant soon after, or being kept at home to carry out household chores.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 75% of girls start primary school, but only 8% finish secondary school. A report from Unicef projected the number of girl brides will double by 2050 if no action is taken.
“Girls are the first to drop out of school, the first to be failed by the system, they face the perils of early marriage and early pregnancy. Yet educating girls has the most transformational impact. Educated mothers will educate their sons and daughters, and new pathways are opened up for women in economic independence and leadership.”-Angeline Murimirwa, who created an Alumni network for the Camfed Association, helping to identify other child brides that needed help.
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