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ENDING CHILD MARRIAGE means collective efforts say Sierra Leonean
Posted By: Melvin Sharty ⇒  Posted Date: 2019-02-06

Three Intern students at Network Movement for Democracy and Human Right (NMDHR) in

Sierra Leone share their views on the effects of child marriage and proffers solutions to ending it in Sierra Leone and around the world.

Social Work, Final year General Students, FBC, University of Sierra Leone


Ezekiel Tamba Boima; Social Work Final Student, opened:

“The hands off our girls campaign is a very good initiative launched by the first lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Bio at a time when the cases of sexual based violence across the country keep getting alarming on a daily basis. It becomes even more frustrating after the launched of the “hands off our girls campaign”, when there wasn’t a day without having a reported case/cases of ‘rape and early marriage’ on our local media houses. It is now obvious that this good initiative launched by the government will not achieve its goals if certain key elements containing “the hands off our girls” document are not specifically figured out.”

One of such elements in the “hands of our girls” campaign document that needs to be treated with utmost interest is “early/child marriage”. This particular aspect of child right violation needs special audience by all actors simply because many violators of this child right in our society do not even consider it as any big deal. As a matter of fact, some set of people in our society takes honors by marrying underage girls. And as a result of that, the future of many girls in our society today has been doomed which in turn poses economic and security threats to our society.

Sylvian P.P. Sheriff; Social Work Final Year Student writes “ It is very disheartening to know from UNICEF sources that Sierra Leone as of 2017 has the 19th highest child marriage rate in the world, with 13% of girls married before age 15, and 39% before age 18. These statistics only provide a partial picture of the extent of the problem, as many young people enter unions that are not registered as formal marriages.

Being that Sierra Leone is one of the 12 countries selected to be part of the UNFPA and UNICEF’s global programs to accelerate actions to end child marriage in the world, the government of Sierra Leone should immediately review the 2007 customary marriage act which allows parents and local government officials to consent to a child’s marriage which contravene with the child’s right act 2007, which states that; “all marriages below the age of 18years should be prohibited in the country”. From findings, it is believed that many perpetrators of child marriage in Sierra Leone build their case on the 2007 customary marriage act which gives parents and local authorities the right to consent to a child’s marriage. Therefore, if the government must succeed with “the hands off our girl’s campaign” this act must be reviewed immediately.

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