By Ken Musaba
Just a day since the beginning of the campaign to end marriage through social media platform, that started on a 22th November and will end on 31st December by the UNICEF, I decided to let you know what child marriage is and why it should not be practiced depriving the young girls their rights.
Before we start talking about child marriage we need to understand what child marriage is? Child marriage is any informal union where either party is below the age specified by the constitution as an adult.
In the Kenyan constitution anyone below the age of 18 years is specified a child. Child or forced marriage does not only affect Kenya but all over the world. In the world around 15 million girls are married off before the age of 18 each year, this is according to the report by the Girls not bride Organization.
In most of parts of the country, child marriage is a common practice that occurs because of many challenges.
In a study carried out by the UNICEF, stated that almost 1 in 4 Kenyan girls is married before the age of 18, which is an illegal practice done in the roots of the country without mostly the knowledge of a child or the community.
Some of these reasons for the act to happen are;
- Poverty; most of poverty stricken families in the country, send their children to early marriages just to get something from it to provide for the family members. Poverty is the common reason for the most of child abuse, from early pregnancies to child labour.
- Traditional beliefs and practices/social norms; it’s believed that girls were born to get married and not get education. Traditional wives were more submissive and they believe that when a girl is taken to school she will not be submissive to her husband.
- Lack of formal education; hence they don’t see the need of educating their children especially if they too got married at an early age.
But why is it wrong;
- Children who end up married off at a younger age end up being victims of domestic violence
- Our children are too young to get married
- It leads to a lifetime of disadvantage and deprivation
- Child marriage is a type of violence against children and a violation of human rights act
- A child is deprived of her right to education, of making her own decision and fulfilling her dreams.
The general public and social media users are asked to join in a conversation with your community to help raise awareness to end child marriage in the society.
Though the government has put in place a tough constitution on those who practice this act, but it’s also our responsibility as a public to report of any child violence taking place at the base of our societies.
Let’s raise our voices and spread awareness on this issues, let us save a life of the girl child.
Ken Musaba is a journalist at Mtoto News, focusing on parenting.
Mtoto News is an online platform of news, information and resources that aims at making significant change in the lives of children by making them visible. Read mtotonews.com or follow us on twitter and Facebook @mtotonews