On the International Day of the Girl Child, UNICEF and the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) call for ending child marriage
‘My Life, My Right, End Child Marriage’
Global¬ly, most recent UNICEF estimates indicate that approximately 70 million—or around 1 in 3 - young women aged 20-24 were married before age 18, with 23 million of them having been married before they turned 15. almost 400 million women aged 20-49, or over 40 per cent, were married while they were children.
Child marriage puts girls at risk of early pregnancies, posing life-threatening consequences. Maternal deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are an important component of mortality for girls aged 15-19 worldwide, accounting for some 50,000 deaths each year. Moreover, girls between 10 and 14 years of age are five times more likely than women aged 20 to 24 die in pregnancy and childbirth.
In Sudan, the results of the Sudan Household Survey (SHHS 2010) indicate that the percentage of women married before age 15 ranged from 5.2 in Northern State to 19.1 in Blue Nile State. Over one-third (37.6 per cent) of young women were married before age 18 ranging from 20.5 in Northern State to 62.2 in Blue Nile State.
Under the headline ‘My Life, My Right, End Child Marriage’, a series of events and actions are taking place in Sudan to draw attention to this critically important issue. NCCW in partnership with UNICEF is leading a national study on knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) relating to the girl’s child marriage. It will include conducting a sample survey in the following four states: South Darfur, Gedaref, West Darfur and Khartoum. The results of the study will guide programme interventions supported by both UNICEF and NCCW will support.
Moreover, additional efforts are exerted by other UN agencies such as UNFPA, along with the Ministry of Guidance and Awqaf, to increase advocacy for legislative reform that does not contradict with the positive religious values. Civic society is also actively involved. For example, Plan Sudan is collaborating with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security, and NCCW to launch an initiative “Because I am a girl”. As such, many NGOS are also celebrating the Day.
UNICEF and NCCW supported the passage of the Child Law in 2010, and have since then supported the work on developing a concept note for the way forward in protecting girls from early marriage. During 2011 some states went ahead with promoting discussion and debates over the girl child marriage such as in South Darfur.
“Childhood is a stage for developing children’s personality through education, family and social care. They will only be capable of establishing families thereafter. Hence, there is no need to burden them with marriage responsibilities at that stage”, says Amal Mahmoud, the Secretary General of NCCW“.
UNICEF and NCCW commemorates the International day of the Girl Child and work together with partners to achieve a better Life for Girls in Sudan
For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org/
For more information, please contact:
Hussein Farah - National Council for Child Welfare, firstname.lastname@example.org
Samira A Ahmed –UNICEF Sudan, email@example.com