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SADC PF holds a dialogue on child marriage laws
By: myadmin • August 31, 2015
The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) and AWEPA hosted the Parliamentary Dialogue on Child Laws in Johannesburg South Africa on the 3rd and 4th of February.
The objective of the dialogue was to sensitize the Members of SADC-PF to the issue of child marriage and its consequences. A further goal was to convince them to take action within their respective Parliaments. to condemn Child Marriage as a violation of girls’ rights.
Loveness Mudzuru, a child bride who together with Ruvimbo Tsopodzi recently lodged a constitutional application challenging child marriages in Zimbabwe, shared her experience as a child bride and also called on the region to unite in the fight against child marriages.
“If we are to achieve zero new HIV infections, we need to protect girls from sexual violence including child marriage,” she said.
“I was young I did not understand anything about sex or contraceptives”, said Loveness sharing her experiences of how she fell pregnant at the age of 15. Loveness had a second child barely 6 months after giving birth to the first one.
Speaking at the same event, Ms Hendrica Okondo from World YWCA emphasized the need to ensure that children have gone through birth registration.
“The other complexities we are finding in our work in child marriage is when girls do not have a birth certificates it often is difficult to prove that they are under the age of marriage, it’s like they are non-existent” says Ms Hendrica Okondo in her keynote address.
“The inclusive nature of the participants attending this dialogue goes a long way to broaden the information base for the subject under discussion which is necessary in terms of developing a Model Law that discourages Child Marriages as it requires the exploration of all possible options in our increasingly complex policy environment, said Dr. Esau Chiviya the secretary general for SADC PF in his opening remarks.
The Regional Parliamentary Dialogue on Child Marriage Laws brought together representatives from: the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF), SADC Secretariat; experts; parliamentarians from the following priority countries (Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe); and representatives from Plan and AWEPA, World YWCA and ROOTS. ROOTS is currently running a campaign under the theme NOT RIPE FOR MARRIAGE as it steps up its efforts to end child marriages.
Education key to ending child marriage in Rural Areas
By: myadmin • August 27, 2015
EDUCATION is key in the fight against early child marriages, especially in remote or rural areas. With awareness campaigns by organizations like Real Open Opportunities for Transformation Support (ROOTS), the rural community is being enriched with enough knowledge about early, forced and child marriages.
ROOTS advocates for economic and social justice and the organization is campaigning against early marriages. Currently we are focusing on rural and remote areas in Mashonaland Central. On the day of the African Child on June 16, we held our campaign at Case Farm in Shamva. The response of people at Case showed vividly that people in these remote regions lack knowledge despite the obvious assumptions that everyone knows that early marriages are not good. Some know they are not good but don’t know why.
Case farm farmers expressed their gratitude towards ROOTS pointing out that it was their first time like this and they learn a lot. They admitted they hadn’t known many of the problems caused by early marriages for istance, domestic violence and HIV and AIDS. They encouraged each other to stop early child marriages and said they are supporting ROOTS in this campaign.
Representing the Counselor, Mrs Murehwa advised parents not to sell their children for gold. The main economic activity in Shamva besides farming is gold panning. Because of poverty, some parents give away their daughters into early or forced marriage in exchange for gold. Mrs Murehwa advised Case farm farmers to stop this as a person’s life is worth more than everything, even gold. She elucidated that early marriages are leading to domestic violence and in most cases these marriages do not last. All this information was beneficial to people at Case Farm.
Meanwhile, ROOTS is continuing with its campaign and their next event will be at Nyava, a rural village in Bindura. The organization will conduct a street bash which will execute ‘edutainment’ for the villagers. The topics at Nyava will be early child marriages and HIV as the organization drives its mission to promote economic justice for young people to recognize and realize their personal development and sexual reproductive health rights.