Opinion

Early child marriage: why it must end

Written By Kaosara Ayinde

It is usually common in the low and middle income countries, particularly in poorer rural areas. Some parents see early marriages as cultural rites that protects their daughters from sexual assault and offer the male gurdian the care of their daughters. They felt the girl child is economic burden and therefore marry them off before they become an economic liability.

Girls are mostly the vicitm of this early marriage, they are often committed to an arranged marriage without their consent, the arrangement can occur as early as infancy. They are forced to get married to someone older than them and at the detriment of their education.

Little did the parents know that they are exposing their child to health hazards because they lack information on reproductive health, contraception or condom use putting them at high risk for contracting STIs and HIV.

Many girls under the age of 18 are not physically mature therefore, unprepared for sexual intercourse or childbirth. Sexual intercourse at a young age is associated with physical pain and pregnancy related issues.

Although the law against child marriage exists, but implementation and enforcement of the law is often weak.Technical assistance is needed to evaluate and monitor programs for better implementation and policies to prevent the scourge of early child marriage.

Advocating for change through community based programs like religious institution and association, health institution and schools are the best place to raise awareness on the consequences early marriage brings to the girl child.

Creation of safe places for girls like the social media where they can easily obtain information about the consequences of early marriage.

Supporting education beyond primary school level can help prevent early marriage in the society because educated girls are less likely to agree to marry at a young age. Public facilities should be use to enlighten girls and parents on the dangerous of effects early child marriage.

#let our girls be educated#

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