By Khadija Mbesa
Kenya has been among the countries in Africa where child marriage is common, this is driven mostly by culture, poverty, lack of education and FGM. 23% of Kenyan girls are married before they are 18 years old and 4% married at the age of 15.
First thing first, cultural differences, if only we could look past our culture because a lot of girls fall prey on that. We should put a halt on cultures that wants or forces the girl child to have a husband after adolescent, or most of them are betrothed when they are still 5 to 10 years old, why should a girl suffer so much because of culture and traditions? The women in that community should stand firm and say NO to child marriage, they should protest hard to enough for the information to reach the right people.
We as the citizens of Kenya, have to, and should fight against poverty, because, girls who are educated and from potential families can fight for their rights and wouldn’t agree to be forced into early marriages. There should be free to all children and platforms to express themselves, children shouldn’t be victims of poverty where they are forced to early marriages and not being able to fight for their own rights.
FGM, Female Genital Mutilation should be banned! This doesn’t only affect the girl child psychologically and physically but it is also used as a sign to show that the child is ready for marriage. FGM is mostly common in some parts of Kenya such as the Maasai, Rendile, Turkana and Kuria. Girl child experiencing the pain of genital mutilation and forced marriage at the same time is really painful.
Partying, well in most African countries, parties during funerals are so common, this is where young school girls get carried away and hence resulting to early pregnancies and this is when a girl child drops out of school and seek early marriages. Parties after funerals should be banned or rather age limited.
Some girls enter early marriages to escape from strict parents, this is an issue which is really common in my area. So parents should be more open and close to their children, not too strict and not too loose. Parents should be more of a friend to the girl child.
Ending child marriage should be practiced by we, citizens because the government have done enough by providing free primary Education. We should protest against FGM. Young girls should access more youths’ jobs so as they do not run for early marriages to escape from poverty.
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