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Posts Tagged ‘Day of the Girl Child’

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize that empowerment of and investment in girls is  critical for economic growth and  the achievement of all Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and extreme poverty, as well as the meaningful participation of girls in decisions that affect them, are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights, and recognizing also that empowering girls requires their active participation in decision-making processes and the active support and engagement of their parents, legal guardians, families and care providers, as well as boys and men and the wider community,

The Resolution further  calls on  all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, to observe the International Day of the Girl Child, and to raise awareness of the situation of girls around the world;

For its first observance, this year’s Day focused on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life. Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk to be a victim of violence and abuse, jeopardizes her health and therefore constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the development of healthy communities.

Child marriage

From AWID Friday File, child marriage is most prevalent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, there are 60 million child-brides the world over – 25 000 each day – many wed to men more than twice their senior. It is also common in Latin America and the Caribbean, where 29% of girls between 15-24 are married before reaching 18. Overall, 82 million girls in developing countries will be married before they turn 18.

In Uganda the day was celebrated under the theme “Too young to marry. End Child marriage and Teenage Pregnancy. The celebrations were spearheaded by the Ministry of Gender and Plan International in campaign Because I am a Girl

According to Isis-WICCE research on Child marriages in Kasese, almost every home in Kasese has a child mother or a girl who had been defiled and only 70% of young mothers only accessed primary level education. The controlled mobility of child mothers restricts them from accessing education and realizing their full potential. Therefore, child marriage entrenches the vicious cycle of poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment.

Cultural norms also dictate that at birth, a girl child  is booked for marriage and earmarked for trade in exchange for dowry. At five years, she is sent away for grooming to her in laws to-be and at her first menstrual period between 8-12 years she is married off.

I got married at 15 years to a 43 year old man in 2008. My parents forced me into marriage because they wanted to get money. It was a traditional wedding”. a child mother in Kasese.

This  story represents many voices of child mothers in Kasese.  Is all hope lost, is n’t there redemption out there? Let this landmark  of the Day of the Girl Child be the first step towards eradicating this vice by investing in girls’ education. The  Chineese say   a journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step.

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