Meet the youth advocates saying NO to child marriage in Tanzania
“From the first day I held my younger sister in my hands, I felt a responsibility.
"I grew up in a community where most of my neighbours and friends got pregnant young, dropped out of school and got married.
"The community didn’t think they had any role to play. That’s where my idea to advocate for girls’ rights started.
"Most child marriages occur when a girl is very young and is married to an older man. In one case, a girl of 12 was married to a 42-year-old man.
“The girls’ families are living in poverty and need the money they receive from the husband’s family, as a bride price. But deep inside they know child marriage isn’t right.
"Girls get abused and beaten, they give birth before their young bodies are ready. All of these things are a nightmare to girls.
"The petition will make a huge difference. When we talk to decision-makers they ask, ‘how sure are you that people want change?’
“We can use the petition to show that the community is ready to make a change.”
“The goal I have is to see and live in a society where child marriage becomes illegal.
“Child marriage is prevalent mainly in rural areas where, in some regions, it affects as many as 50% of girls.
“A girl forced into marriage is exposed to health risks. These include complications during pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, as in many cases they are married to older men.
“Girls also end up dropping out of school and missing out on their right to education, which is indispensable for them to build a better future and break out of poverty.
“We are advocating to change sections 13 and 17 of the Law of Marriage Act 1971.
"We need to make child marriage illegal and raise the minimum age of consent from 14 to 18 for girls, as it is for boys, to end discrimination and achieve fair and equal treatment.
“This petition will make a difference to the lives of girls in Tanzania. People are going to understand the problem of child marriage and the impact it has on girls and their communities.”
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