In Africa, around 30% of girls marry before the age of 18. This contributes to high fertility rates, increased health risks, reduced educational levels and cost the countries billions of dollars in lost earnings. By providing girls with mental and educational support, as well as sustainable solutions for partners to independently earn a living we contribute to gender equality as well as quality education which will give people the opportunity to make educated decisions.
The fact of minimal access to education and the widespread poverty in communities, families are unaware of or have no other choice than to arrange child marriages. Due to the deep-rooted patriarchy and lack of independence, girls are those who are affected the most. 1 in 3 girls in sub-Saharan Africa are married before the age of 18, which causes girls to leave school early, putting them at higher risk of health problems; and contributing to population growth, and lower standards of living.
The greatest reason for child brides is the high level of poverty, giving parents no other choice but to marry off their daughter to receive lobola (bride price) and reduce their household costs. This project aims at educating parents and girls about the risk of child marriage; provide education and group therapy to girls who have been or at risk of being victims of child marriage, and offer income generation schemes to parents to prevent child marriages in the future.
By responsive and proactive measures against child marriage, girls will be empowered by maintaining good health, get access to education and reduce fertility rates. The World Bank states that child marriages cost the African countries tens of billions of dollars in lost earnings which demonstrates the potential of economic growth and the opportunity of breaking the cycle of poverty as girls with secondary education are more likely to earn twice as much as those without secondary level.
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