Everyone has a role to play in ending Child Marriage

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.