On International Day of the Girl Child
Harare – As the world celebrates International Day of the Girl which is normally observed on 11 October, the Women Advocacy Project is calling for greater investments to improve girls’ education, skills, and job prospects in Zimbabwe.
We stress the importance of creating opportunities and safe spaces for girls’ voices to be heard and listened to in decisions that affect them.
Constance Mugari, the founder and Executive Director of the Women Advocacy Project, said more attention should be given to girls’ education and providing them with the relevant job skills and training. She said such an investment also enables them to participate in the workforce and to move from dreaming to achieving their dreams.
Said Mugari in a statement:
According to UNICEF, UNFPA and the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) one third of all girls in Zimbabwe marry before the age of 18.
Statistics show that approximately 500,000 teenagers fall pregnant every year in Zimbabwe, with 19 percent of the pregnancies in this group a result of child marriages. 48 percent of adolescents confirmed that the pregnancies were unplanned.
Adolescent pregnancy remains a major challenge and contributor to maternal and child mortality and the vicious circle of ill-health and poverty particularly in Zimbabwe.
Poverty remains a key driver of child marriage, and girls from poor families are more likely to become child brides than those from wealthier households.
If we really want to tackle poverty and end child marriage we must give all girls the tools they need to invest in themselves.
That means providing them with the quality education and training they need to earn an income and create a better future for themselves and their family.
Every year, 12 million girls are married globally before the age of 18, depriving them of their rights to education, health and a life of their choice.
Evidence shows that girls who attend secondary school are three times less likely to be child brides. They also have better economic prospects, fewer and healthier children, and are more likely to ensure that their own children are not married before 18.”