Stop Child Marriage
Girls and Fathers Unite
Sidama Region, Ethiopia, October, 2023
Due to the devastating drought, child marriage has spiked significantly, especially in southern Ethiopia where it has doubled. Child marriage often increases in times of drought as families earn dowries and also hope their children will be fed by wealthier families.
UNICEF thanks to the Govermnet of Germany is supporting communities to educate girls and fathers on the perils of child marriage.
“Young girls are not ready for an independent life, let alone marriage”. “Also, if they get pregnant, they will experience difficulties which will impact them psychologically and physically. We would not have a future.”
Mifrano Noham married his wife Henish when she was 18. While they are very happy, he feels she was too young. They have 3 girls and he said: “I want my girls to get an education and have a future and let them marry when they want. I want them to follow their dreams.”
16-year-old Mihret understands the health impacts but also the impact underage marriage has on girls.
“If you marry too young, you will not have a social life,” she said. “Also, your husband might leave you as you are not capable of leading a family.”
Assefa Mengistu, is a community campaigner and father of two girls. He said: “I tell the boys not to rush underaged girls into marriage and that it will only result in both social and physical problems later on. For my two girls, I tell them that all I want for them is to get their education and that I don’t want nor will allow them to get married young.”
Mebrat, 16 years old, is proud of her work in the community. “Being with all these girls and seeing how we are all committed to not marry young, makes me so happy,” she said. “We all know the dangers and we know child marriage will only rob us our future. I have dreams and I intend to follow them.”
Let’s all work together, girls, women, boys, and men, so that children in Ethiopia are not forced to marry young and so they can envisage a future where they are empowered, educated, strong, and determined.