This project will provide an economic means of preventing child marriage in Zimbabwe, where poverty has pushed early marriage to dangerous levels. The project will be managed by Women Advocacy Project (WAP). WAP will organize soap-making training for 30 girls and their mothers in the community of Epworth. Your donations will pay for the soap ingredients, equipment and packaging. As well as protecting girls, you will be helping to develop an entirely new approach to ending child marriage!
Child marriage was outlawed in Zimbabwe in 2016, but one third of girls in the country are married before they are 18. In addition to harmful social norms and a lack of understanding of reproductive health, one of the major drivers of child marriage is poverty; this point was reiterated by the majority of mothers and girls interviewed by WAP in June. Girls who are suffering at home or unable to attend school may view marriage as a desirable alternative or as a viable path out of poverty.
By making and selling 4,000 liters of soap, girls and their mothers will have the opportunity to build skills and earn a profit for themselves. Importantly, this economic empowerment and extra income will help with school fees or basic living expenses, effectively relieving pressures that could easily lead to child marriage. Liquid soaps can be made easily and safely using locally sourced products and there is high demand for this type of product in the Zimbabwean market.
If this pilot project in Epworth is successful and if the group of 30 girls (and 30 mothers) is able to produce and sell the budgeted amount of soap with the desired results, the soap-making program will be expanded into other communities surrounding Harare where WAP currently works. As these girls and women benefit from learning skills, generating income and returning to school, it is hoped that early marriage will become less prevalent in these communities and eventually in the whole country.