THERE is need for policymakers on the continent to protect the rights of the girl child and work towards ending child marriages, says ‘Girls not Brides’ regional coordinator Francia Mudude.
Mudude said the scourge compromised the girl child’s health, education and opportunities to realise her potential.
She noted that the girls were being married for economic reasons, which was the major driving force of the practice, saying for many families living in poverty, child marriages was a source of income and therefore an economic survival strategy. Millions of girls around the world, and especially in Africa, are married off to older men each year a practice mainly attributed to high levels of poverty.
Globally, one in three girls from low and middle income countries is married before the age of 18, resulting to an estimated over 15.1 million girl brides.
And Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) programme officer Brian Banda says there was need to step up human rights sensitisation campaigns in rural areas.
Mr Banda noted that most people in rural areas were ignorant about their rights and were therefore being abused.
He added that people were supposed to be educated on their rights for them to claim what was due to them.