In March, 2012, Population Media Center became a member of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. Current and past PMC serial dramas have addressed early marriage, and our organizational emphasis on elevating the status of women around the world make this partnership a good fit moving forward.
Girls Not Brides is an international civil society initiative founded just recently by The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights and whose leadership includes Nelson Mandella, Gro Bruntland, Mary Robinson, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu. Every year, an estimated 10 million girls aged under 18 are married worldwide with little or no say in the matter. That’s more than 25,000 girls every day, or 19 every minute. In the developing world, one in seven girls is married before her 15th birthday and some child brides are as young as eight or nine.
You can review the Girls Not Brides website here: http://girlsnotbrides.org/
Below, you will see a story that speaks to the urgency of this issue.
Children as young as seven sold as child brides in Niger
Children as young as seven are being sold off as child brides in Niger as the country falls into the grips of mass starvation, according to the charity World Vision.
Child marriage is a fact of life for one-third of girls in Niger but aid workers claim there has been a spike in families selling off daughters as they can no longer afford to feed.
Parents have told activists that while they are unhappy with selling their daughters to men for a price of a few goats or other livestock, the exhaustion of family food stocks meant they had no alternative.
Fatima Soumana, a child protection officer, said she had discovered the seven-year-old who had been married off to a cousin. Mrs Soumana said the family had been affected by a series of tragedies, including the death of the child’s mother while giving birth.
“The girl’s mother died in childbirth and I went to visit the family and to register the birth at the courthouse with an aunt and a seven-year girl old came with us” Mrs Soumana said. “When I asked who she was, the aunt told me she was her daughter-in-law. I realised that the young girl had been sold to the family and married off to their 20-year-old son.”
Launching a public appeal for £5 million to feed the stricken nation, the charity said that food shortages were affecting 6.4 million, with up to one million children at risk of starvation.
Aid workers said the crisis, which stretches across the sub-Saharan region after drought and crop failure, is to worsen steadily as it faces the lean season of June and July.
To read the full article, please click here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/niger/9298315/Children-as-young-as-seven-sold-as-child-brides-in-Niger.html