A CSW 62 Parallel side event, attended by SI Australia incoming National Rep Katherine Gribble
An overview of the efforts of 3 African countires.
This was a panel discussion.
The Minister of Women and Children in Ethiopia stated that Ethiopia was ahead of their goals to meet the 2025 targets in the areas of prevention, protection and policies. In the Ethiopian constitution child marriage is illegal and the minimal age for marriage is eighteen. The government has set up committees to check and impalement.
The Minister in Zambia stated that Africa has the highest rate of child marriages in the world. Out of twenty countries listed as having the highest incident of child marriage, fifteen are from African continent, child marriage and FGM effects the development of these countries. The goal is to reduce vulnerability and mobilise finances to implement programmes to keep girls at school, as child brides drop out of school and their health fails. The government has a scheme that encourages the poorest of the poor girls to stay at school by paying their fees, so far they have paid fees for 8,800 girls and hope to have that increased by the end of the year to 20,000. Other agencies are also involved such as faith organisations, traditional leaders etc.
A Director from Uganda stated that FGM was a harmful practice and in some localised areas such as north east Uganda it was a real issue with around 100% ofgirls affected, whereas overall in the country it was 1%. Girls are usually cut from the ages of nine to fourteen years of age and there is a 10 % mortality rate in girls who are aged fifteen to nineteen years. Their aim is to keep girls at school and enable them to re enter after pregnancy.
An Ethiopian woman then spoke(pictured) saying she had made its her life mission to have her village free from harmful practices. It is the first time she had travelled outside her country and on an airplane. She told her story of how she was married at fourteen and was a victim of FGM. She lost her first two babies as she was too young to deliver.