The multiple faces of the fight against early child marriages

Date: July 4, 2018
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By Graça Maria; Maputo, 04 July 2018:

William Mujovo – Representative of Diakonia

Diakonia’s representative- William Mujovo

Diakonia has provided training and support to national partners engaged in activities aimed at eradicating gender-based violence and premature marriages at local and district level, because the problem of early marriage occurs mainly in these places, so we work with women’s associations and organizations working to promote gender equality and even those that integrate men, therefore, the involvement of all is encouraged. We have provided thematic training, program management, we have provided administrative and financial management so that the population increases their knowledge and perception about the problem.
The biggest challenge is that socio-cultural changes are not linear, premarital marriages are culturally rooted practices whose change requires a lot of work and time, and one cannot predict how long it will take to eradicate.



Cidália Chaúque – Minister of Gender Child and Social Action

Currently, more than 48 percent of girls in the country marry before the age of 18, and the country currently ranks 10th in some 200 countries worldwide and in Africa and is also ranked first among the highest rates of premarital marriages. At this time, we are reducing the rate through retention of girls in schools, as a Government-approved premature marriage combat strategy and Implemented by all its partners, including Gender Links. From this partnership the Government will implement the SADC Protocol whose main objective is to reduce the rates of premature marriages.

Premature marriages result in diseases in children, such as Obstetric Fistula, very high poverty rates, so our main strategy is education, but we need to find mechanisms to have girls in school, training boys and girls to realize for themselves that it is possible for them to decide their future.

Intervention of the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Action

Sensitization in families is very important as they have to realize what are the advantages of girls getting married much later because there are cases of traditional practices in which children are reserved for marriage everywhere. We have found mechanisms for girls to decide their future by themselves and there is no involvement of older people. The greatest challenge we face is the retention of girls at school, communities that perceive the ills of premarital marriages and find societies capable of getting involved and not allowing marriages to take place and the occurrence of violence, since gender-based violence affects children. children and a whole society and it is difficult to find healthy conditions when families are raped, then peace is a condition for families to reduce the rate of premarital marriages.

Maria Helena – President of Manjacaze Municipality

Maria Helena- President of Manjacaze Municipality

The municipality is working hard to prevent and combat premature marriages, which is not to say that there are no cases, but we have worked with the community to encourage them. We have meetings with religious leaders, community leaders, groups of mothers and heads of education, leadership of schools at all levels. We create youth and girl clubs where we talk about their rights and make room for them to expose problems that may eventually come within their community, threats from the family to marry against their will.
In this context we have some improvement, the cases of premature marriages are reducing, which encourages us to continue with this type of action because, social participation is important and has been verified. However, the biggest challenge is for women and the community to know their rights, and to be in solidarity with each other. Therefore, all women, men and young women should be made aware of women’s rights to combat and prevent violence domestic and premarital marriages.


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