By Rohey Jadama
Child Fund International the Gambia will today join the rest of the
world to celebrate and commemorate the day of the African child with
the theme “25 years after the adoption of the African Charter:Accelerating our collective efforts to end child marriage in Africa”
at the Lamin Football field. This is a day in which the innocent
school children of Soweto who were massacred by the then apartheid
regime of South Africa are remembered.
Speaking at a press conference at the Child Fund Head office in
Kanifing, the National Director of Child Fund Mr. James Pimundu said
as a child protection and development agency that strives to tackle
underlying causes of deprivation, exclusion and vulnerability, they
have in the last 25 years been standing shoulder to shoulder with
governments, civil society organisations and community members to
remember the Day of the African child.
Child marriage in Africa is of concern to them as people. He
continued, “Africa has the second highest rate of child marriage
globally after Asia, 39% of girls are married before their 18th
birthday. 13% of girls are married before the age of 15 years and 15
out of 20 countries with the highest rate of child marriage are in
Africa”, said the National Director of Child Fund.
Mr. Pimundu said the causes of child marriage are gender inequality
especially those differentiating between male and female roles in
economic terms, poverty, cultural and religious practices that
reinforces early marriage and weak law enforcement.
He said the consequences of child marriage are maternal mortality and
morbidity due to pregnancy and child birth disabilities associated to
childbirth, STIs, violating child’s rights not limited to education,
parental care and protection and child trafficking.
The Child Fund National Director said we should safeguard childhood
against child marriage, create awareness regarding the negative
impacts of child marriage, empower communities and households
economically, and call upon religious and cultural leaders in
safeguarding childhood against child marriage, prosecuting cases,
By Rohey Jadama