child marriage

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Child marriage seen as a girl’s health issue | 

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The development community is starting to pay closer attention to the problem of child marriages.

Long considered an issue of human rights, the conversation about child marriage is shifting to that of health and education. Girls married too young are denied the educational opportunities of their peers and are put at greater health risks, such as HIV and teen pregnancy.

What may seem like a distant problem, child marriage is found in every part of the world. Ending the global practice will unleash opportunity for millions of women and girls.

The number of global child marriages is declining, but not quickly enough. Rates are staggering in places like Chad, Niger and the Central African Republic. More than two out of every three girls are married before eighteen. Roughly half of the girls married early in Niger do so before turning fifteen.

The global rate of child marriage is alarmingly high in developing countries where one out of every three girls will marry before turning eighteen. It is estimated that 142 million girls will marry before the age of eighteen this decade. The majority of cases are found in South Asia and West and Central Africa, but it is India that carries the majority of the burden, 40% to be exact.

It is not only a problem in Africa and Asia. Closer to the US, Haiti has a child marriage rate exceeding thirty percent. Continue reading

American girls enlisted in global campaign against child marriage | 

Global Health Frontline News photo

There could be 100 million child brides in ten years.

Tom Paulson introduced the teen-directed program, Girl Up, last year, here in the Humanosphere blog, as the United Nations Foundation and Seattle students helped launch the new initiative.

The Girl Up program, according to its website, is designed to give:

“American girls the opportunity to channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds for programs of the United Nations that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls. Through Girl Up’s support, girls have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted, and positioned to be the next generation of leaders.

“Campaign supporters are encouraged to give a ‘High Five’ to girls in developing countries by donating $5 or more to provide girls with such basic needs as access to school supplies, clean water, life-saving health services, safety from violence, and more.”

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