June 16 2015 is the Day of the African Child, an event originated by the African Union in 1991 to commemorate the 1976 Soweto massacre of hundreds of school children protesting about failing education standards.
The theme chosen by the African Union to commemorate Day of the African Child 2015 is “25 Years after the Adoption of the African Children’s Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa”.
In addition to a regional campaign to end child marriage and the increasing number of national initiatives, more African leaders are committing to end the practice.
Globally every year, 15 million girls – many of them African – become child brides before they are physically or emotionally mature enough to be wives or mothers. They join the swelling ranks of 750 million women alive today who became brides before the age of 18
Child marriage is a harmful traditional practice which robs girls of their education, their health and their future – many child brides become mothers before their bodies are physically capable of carrying a baby safely to term, resulting in increased risk of injury and even death, as girls who give birth under age 15 are five times more likely to die than young women in their early twenties.
Some of the initiatives to empower girls, include mobilise families and communities as agents of change, provide adequate services particularly health, education and justice services, and provide legal frameworks that protects girls from marriage and its negative consequences.