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Day of the African Child 2016

Day of the African Child 2016

Day of the African Child has been celebrated for 25 years, and this year more than ever, we’re happy to put into the spotlight the campaigns to end child marriage and female genital mutilation from across the continent.

These two, unfortunately quite common, practices can stop a girl from having a healthy and happy future, with choice and education. As governments pledge to do more, we’re confident that our work within the local communities will lead to real change.

Day of the African child

Here’s a timeline of historic events since last year’s Day of the African Child:

  • December 2015 Gambia passed a law to stop FGM. 
  • January 2016 two former child brides won a courtroom battle to end child marriage in Zimbabwe. Now it is illegal for anyone to get married before the age of 18.
  • March 2016 campaigners in Somalia, a country where a reported 98% of females have had FGM, added the Prime Minister’s name to a petition of one million signatures calling to make FGM illegal.
  • March 2016 the government of Burkina Faso pledged to end early and forced marriage.
Asnakech was excised at 12 with severe injuries
Asnakech had FGM when she was just 12 and was left with severe injuries
  • April 2016 in Zambia, where 42% of girls are married before the age of 18, the government adopted a national strategy to end child marriage by 2030.
  • April 2016 following suit, in the same month neighbouring Mozambique launched a strategy to end child marriage.
  • May 2016 in Guinea Bissau Plan International is working with communities to open dialogue, raise awareness and end the ritual of FGM. Three large communities – Bidjini, Djaima and Saocunda – are now dedicated to ending the cutting.
Girl Power Camp footballers
A Plan International Girl Power club in Ghana uses football to empower girls to make a decision around child marriage

Our work in local communities aims to offer support, increase awareness and open a dialogue to ensure that all girls have the right to choose. In Wa, Ghana, Plan International introduced a girls’ football team to curb the instances of early marriage in the community. One player, Fahima, 14 says: “It’s no longer boys at the front and girls at the back. We now walk side by side. No more violence, no more kitchen work.”

And in Ethiopia, Plan International encouraged an open discussion about female genital cutting in a school. Asthe uncut girls’ club was launched, discussing FGM is no longer taboo and more girls and their families are realising the devastating consequences cutting can have on a girl’s health.

This Day of the African Child show your support and share the stories of landmark African successes.

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