Theresia Bashiru Goru from Tanzania wrote this blog after attending the RIATT-ESA sponsored Children and Youth conference at the 2017 Psychosocial Forum.
Early marriage takes place before a child turns 18 years and is regarded as mature, both mentally and physically. Early marriage can be a result of poverty, illiteracy, parental influence, cultural practices and globalization.
Early marriage has become a problem in the Dodoma region of Tanzania as in other parts of Africa. This problem affects lots of people through following:
- Infant death during birth – This happens as the cervix of young girls is too small for the baby to pass through. This may lead to the death of the mother.
- Dropping out of schools - When girls as young as 12 years old drops out of school, it has a negative impact of their mental and emotional development.
- Sexually transmitted diseases- SDTs such as HIV/AIDS, Gonorrhea and syphilis may lead to death without correct medicine and proper treatment.
- Divorce- When girls get marriage at an early age it can lead to misunderstandings, conflict, violence and divorce.
The following measures should be taken to end early marriages:
- Education should be provided to communities on its negative effects.
- Government should enact the laws to punish those who still practice or entertain early marriage.
- Cultural practices that that encourage early marriage should be eradicated.