Vaillante, an original UNICEF series about child marriage, to launch on Canal+ POP

08 March 2022

DAKAR (SENEGAL), 8 March 2022 - The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is proud to announce that Vaillante, an original miniseries that  sheds light on child marriage, will be featured across West and Central Africa on Canal+ POP starting on 8 March to commemorate International Women’s Day.

On 8 March, Vaillante will be featured in Canal+ POP primetime broadcasts to millions of viewers. Each episode of the 3-part miniseries will be shown a dozen times during the month.

“West and Central Africa is home to seven of the ten countries with the highest rate of child marriage worldwide. While there has been a downward trend in the region child marriage prevalence rates, progress is slow, compared to other regions. Reductions have also been uneven across the region and are further jeopardized by the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 such as interrupted education and economic shocks, as well as conflict and instability in the region; we need to innovate as ‘business unusual’ to accelerate efforts,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

Vaillante, which follows the intertwining stories of a child bride-to-be and a young activist campaigning to end the practice, is one part of UNICEF’s ongoing comprehensive efforts to protect the rights of girls and women in Africa. Child marriage is particularly prevalent in West and Central Africa, where 2 in 5 girls are married before their 18th birthday. Around 1 in 8 are married before reaching the age of 15.

UNICEF works with adolescent girls, families, religious leaders and communities to shift social norms and beliefs related to child marriage (and the underlying drivers of gender inequality that lead to this practice), and to empower adolescent girls to make their own decisions and have access to essential basic services (health, birth registration, education, child protection and social welfare and social protection).

In addition, UNICEF works with governments across the region to strengthen or put in place laws and policies to end child marriage and reinforce capacities of local governments and partners for stronger prevention and response to child marriage.

Child marriage is one of several protection risks faced by girls and young women in West and Central Africa. In the region, 7 per cent of women aged 18-29 report having experienced sexual violence in their childhood, and only a small minority of them seek help from a professional due to the culture of silence that surrounds the issue as well as gaps in availability and quality of protective and response services.

UNICEF supports interventions that prevent and address violence, including sexual violence, against children in West and Central Africa, in collaboration with all key stakeholders including governments, institutional partners, girls and boys, families and communities.

“Ending child marriage and sexual violence are key priorities of UNICEF for children in West and Central Africa, and cornerstones of sustainable development across the region and the continent. We encourage the continued commitment of regional organizations such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States,” said Ms. Poirier.

The broadcast of Vaillante is a partnership with Canal + as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative “Un Mois, Une Cause, under which the month of March is dedicated to women’s and girls’ rights. Canal+ International is one of the largest TV broadcasters in Africa, with more than 6 million subscribers, according to the Canal+ group.

Media contacts

Diane Yameogo
UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office
Tel: +221 77 332 4326

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in West and Central Africa, visit https://www.unicef.org/wca.

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