Malawi delegation participated to Africa Union’s first-ever African Girl’s Summit on Ending Child Marriage held in Lusaka, Zambia.
A two-day gathering which started on Thursday unites diplomats, UN officials and NGOs for talks on how to change regional cultural norms.
The African Union says about 14 million under-age girls are married on the continent each year — almost all of them forced to by their parents, often against laws that are rarely enforced.
The Summit follows the 2014 London Girls Summit and illustrating the African union Commission’s dedication to continue fighting against child marriage and other harmful traditional practices affecting girls and women in Africa.
The African Girls’ Summit is offering recognition of the efforts being made by African Governments and other stakeholders in advocating the rights of children, particularly the girl-child respectively.
Child marriage is deeply rooted in gender inequality, poverty, illiteracy, tradition, religion and culture.
The practice has an impact on the welfare of the child as well as on socio-economic and socio-political developmental efforts.
“Child marriage is a human rights violation that robs girls of their rights to health, to live in security, and to choose if, when and whom to marry,” the AU.
According to a AU, in patriarchal cultures, girls lack the same perceived value as boys right from birth; families and communities and may discount the benefits of educating and investing in their daughters’ development.
The opening of the summit was graced by Zambian president Edgar Lungu first ladies from Zambia south African, Ethiopia including gender ministers from African continent.
The inaugural AU “child bride” meeting in Lusaka focused on sharing experience of campaigns to reduce child marriage and on securing higher government funding.
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