This week, Zambia’s capital Lusaka will be the hub of discussing an end to child marriages through a five day workshop through the collaborative efforts of UNFPA, UNICEF, Inter Africa Committee, the African Child Policy forum along with the AU Commission.
Under the theme “Ending Child Marriage and other Harmful traditional practices in Africa, various strategies will be set through experts in regional economic communities, civil society organization and country representatives of Eastern and Southern Africa.
As part of the discussions, issues surrounding child marriage will also be discussed – such as female genital mutilation, and the effect of religious and traditional practices that effect child marriages and socio-economic development.
Zambian Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Dr Joseph Katema said “as concerned Africans, we are obliged to ensure that girls remain girls, not brides and enjoy their childhood manifested in education, play, good health and participation in social and cultural endeavors that are appropriate and relevant to their development’ further showing appreciation to all stakeholders for facilitating the workshop.
Although some may not be aware or turn a blind eye, child marriage is a prevalent practice in various traditional tribes across our continent. Girls are raised to become brides upon their adolescent ages, and a discouraged from going to school or bettering their lives outside of the patriarch cultures instilled by their elders. This is why the work -hops such as these are needed to spread awareness and engage with traditional leaders to put an end to child marriage.