The Advocacy Project (AP) is teaming up with the Women Advocacy Project (WAP) to support a new initiative to put an end to the practice of early child marriage in Zimbabwe. This new program seeks to train 5 girls in becoming leaders in their community against the fight of child marriage. They will be equipped with the resources necessary to educate and protect their peers, thus creating a network of strong girls who are confident and able to resist this devastating practice.
Child marriage has detrimental impacts in Zimbabwe, where the rates of early marriage are extraordinarily high: 1 in every three Zimbabwean girls will marry before age 18. Child marriage is spurred by environmental factors such as poverty and deep-rooted cultural traditions. The impacts of this practice are detrimental to girls, who will become more likely to encounter sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, experience sexual and domestic violence, and have less access to an education.
This project is a crucial step in the fight to end child marriage. The 5 Ambassadors against child marriage will serve as mentors to their peers in their communities to teach them about their rights as women, the dangers that child marriage poses, the importance of staying in school, and how to protect themselves against abuse in everyday life. The Ambassadors will also identify 25 girls in each of their communities who are at risk of marrying early, and assist them in choosing better options.
The nature of this project is very sustainable. As more and more girls become better educated about their rights and their options, they will be able to spread their message to even more individuals. Each Ambassador will establish a "Give Us Books, Not Husbands" club in their community, which will strive to change the attitudes of club members. We expect to see lower rates of early child marriage in the communities surrounding Harare, as well as higher school attendance and retention rates.