ROOTS launches ‘Not Ripe for Marriage’ campaign

A youths rights lobby group, Real Opportunities for Transformation Support (ROOTS), has launched a campaign against forced and early marriage among young girls below 18 years.

ROOTS Director, Beatrice  Savadye
ROOTS Director, Beatrice Savadye

Dubbed “Not Ripe For Marriage” the campaign will include legislators, the traditional leaders, religious groups, parents and young girls themselves.

Speaking on the side-lines of the launch, ROOTS Director Beatrice Savadye said the nationwide campaign aims at protecting and raising awareness on the disadvantages of early and forced marriages.

She said her organisation had several activities lined up to ensure that society appreciated the perils of forced and early child marriage.

“Starting this month, we are engaging legislators and we are optimistic that Members of Parliament will appreciate that they are an important part of the equation in advocating for an end to the practice that greatly disadvantages the girl child,” said Savadye.

She said her organisation was set to conduct a training workshop for legislators this month. “Many of the girls are married early because of poverty. We have several activities lined up where we are going to engage in fundraising activities aimed at building an economic base for marginalised girls and young women,” said Savadye.

“We are going to start small business cluster in all the country’s provinces where we hope that marginalised girls will be involved in income generating projects that best befit their circumstances.”

Doreen Gwandura, an elder from an Apostolic Church in Mabvuku who attended the launch, emphasised the importance of male involvement in the campaign.

“Marrying off a child is an act of injustice but men should be at the forefront of the campaign because when the message is going to come from another man, the possibility of its success is greater,” said Gwandura.

She called on religious leaders to condemn the practice within their congregations, instead of promoting the practice under the guise of religion.

A local think tank, Research in Advocacy Unit (RAU), reported recently that 31% of Zimbabwean girls get married before they reach the age of 18. They attributing this mainly to poverty and traditional and religious beliefs.

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