Community-, National-, Regional-Level Actions Can Help Address Child Marriage In Africa

Huffington Post: Speaking Up for Girls’ Rights on the Day of the African Child
Graça Machel, chair of the Graça Machel Trust, and Leila Pakkala, regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, UNICEF

“Today, as Africa simultaneously commemorates the Day of the African Child and the 25th anniversary of the [African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child], we have a rare opportunity to reflect on both progress and challenges in responding to child marriages in Africa. We would suggest five attainable actions: First, a crucial entry point to responding to child marriage is being alive to the cultural nuances that drive it. … Second, closely linked to community-based efforts will be addressing the structural causes of child marriage. … Third, at national level, it is vital that proven efforts are strengthened. … Fourth, decisive leadership and increased political will at community, national, and regional levels are paramount. … And finally, a continued honest and frank peer review system at the African Union level will be paramount…” (6/14).