Youths campaign to end child marriage

An organisation advocating for economic justice for young people is to launch a campaign aimed at ending forced child marriages in Zimbabwe.

Beatrice Savadye
Beatrice Savadye

The six month national campaign set to run under the theme ‘’Not Ripe for Marriage’’ will be launched at the Book Café in Harare on August 1 by Real Opportunities for Transformation Support (ROOTS).

The director, Beatrice Savadye, said the nationwide campaign would also fundraise to build an economic base for marginalised girls and young women.

“Our broader objective is to see a society where women and girls enjoy their rights as enshrined in the constitution,” she said.

The campaign comes against the backdrop of many reported cases of forced marriages of girls under 18, a practice that is prevalent among apostolic sects such as Johanne Marange.

“Establishing the true extent of child marriage is difficult considering that many marriages go unregistered and girls’ ages may be falsified,” said Savadye. “We need to come up with interventions that target the men who marry the girls.”

A 2011 study by the Research and Advocacy Unit entitled ‘Married too soon- Child marriage in Zimbabwe’ reported that 21 percent of children, mostly girls, are married before the age of 18.

ROOTS is set to engage in community dialogue meetings, marches and a media blitz. It will partner media houses, the church, women’s and youth ministries. “We also have several male champions will partner in this campaign,” said Savadye.

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