The practice, she added, is an obstacle to post-MDG targets, as it has adverse effects on the health, education and general development of girls.
“Girls who marry while they are still children are often unable to enjoy social and economic opportunities because they are usually taken out of school early and unable to acquire the minimum knowledge and skills to reach their fullest potential. Child marriage contributes strongly to the continued cycle of poverty in poor communities.
The results of the 2010 multiple indicator cluster survey show that 8.6 percent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years were married or in union before their 15 birthday while 46.5 percent were married or in union before they turned 18 years, a contributing factor to the incidence of teenage pregnancy,”she enunciated.
Ms Singhateh recognised the government’s efforts to put in place adequate policies and programmes, while working closely with national and international partners to reduce and end child marriage.
She maintained: “Under the leadership of women’s bureau with support from Unicef, communities in the Upper River and Central River Regions where the incidence of child marriage is highest are being empowered by Tostan through the community empowerment programme to abandon cultural practices that are harmful to girls and women including child marriage. To date 174 communities in the Upper River Region have publicly declared their intention to abandon child marriage and other harmful cultural practices.”
The Unicef official made this observation at NaNA during a 3-day workshop on violence against children. Organised by Young People in the Media, the event was held under the theme ‘Speak up, Speak out, stop child marriage’.]]>