Essay

1232 words - 5 pages

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ABSTRACT:
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This paper explores the issue of early marriage in Africa. It sheds light
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specifically on reason behind its perpetuation, its harmful consequences, shows how it
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constitutes a barrier to education and enjoyment of girl’s human rights and how it
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further threatens the ...view middle of the document...

It also a developmental challenge for population
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pressure, health care costs and lost
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opportunities of human development. It is barrier to girl’s education as young girls
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drop out from school to get married which impacts negatively on the community as
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whole and on the well being of future generation.
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INTRODUCTION.
How to understand the widespread of early marriage in Africa? What are the

reasons behind its perpetuation in Africa? How does it affect girls’ wellbeing and

constitute a violation of their human rights? How does it undermine the development

of societies? Those questions are posed today, when, despite national laws and

international agreements forbidding early marriage, this phenomenon is still

widespread in many developing countries with a high prevalence in Sub-Saharan Africa more particularly in Central and West Africa.

Early marriage contributes to a series of negative consequences both for young

girls and the society in which they live. It is a violation of human rights in general and

of girl’s rights in particular. For both girls and boys, early marriage has profound

physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional

impacts; cutting off educational and employment opportunities and chances of

personal growth. In this paper more emphasis is given to girls as this is an issue that

impacts upon girls in far larger numbers

and with more intensity.

This paper intends to analyze that issue by emphasizing on this region of Africa.

According to UNICEF (2001), 40 per cent and 49 per cent of girls under 19 in Central

and West Africa respectively are married compared to 27 per cent in East Africa and

20 percent in Northern and Southern Africa.

DEVELOPEMENT

The term “early marriage” is used to refer to both formal marriages and

informal unions in which a girl lives with a partner as if married before age of 18

(UNICEF 2005; Forum on Marriage and the rights of women and girls 2001). For

UNIFPA (2006) Early marriage, also known as Child marriage, is defined as “any

marriage carried out below the age of 18 years, before the girl is physically,

physiologically, and psychologically ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage

and childbearing.” Child marriage, on the other hand, involves either one or both

spouses being children and may take place with or without formal registration, and

under civil, religious or customary laws.

While more women are now marrying at later ages, in many regions, early marriage

...

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