Ending Child Marriage in Northern Uganda – Girls Decide

As we mark our 10th year of working for equality and justice in northern Uganda, we are excited to share our latest initiative: Ending Child Marriage, One Family at a Time.

The pursuit of gender justice starts with protecting young girls from being forced or sold into a marriage. Child marriage is a violation of human rights. Through education, support, intervention and dialogue, WGEF’s highly trained and respected Access to Justice team, along with the Healthy Periods Initiative, are working to end the practice of child marriage in northern Uganda. This is about equality, justice and the right of every child to grow up without fear or coercion. Girls are not property, and have full human rights, including the right to an education and freedom from violence.

Help us ensure every girl has the resources and support she needs to become her own woman, autonomous, free, and a productive member of society.

The Facts on Child Marriage:

  1. 1 in 5 girls globally are married before they are 18 – approximately 12 million girls per year.
  2. 68% of girls are married before the age of 18 in northern Uganda.
  3. The top 5 countries for child marriages are India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Brazil and Ethiopia.
  4. The top 5 Africa countries are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Niger, Central African Republic, and Mali.
  5.  Uganda is ranked 16th in listings by Global Citizen, but northern Uganda ranks close to the top across the continent.
  6. Child marriage is driven by poverty, lack of education, cultural and social mores.

Our Strategy to End Child Marriage:

WGEF believes this critical issue requires urgent action and an expanded focus to shift the negative trend and protect the lives and futures of millions of young women. It is against this backdrop that WGEF launched the Healthy Periods Initiative which enables young women to stay in school and manage their reproductive health care with dignity, ultimately leading to the reduction of child marriage and teen pregnancy. We are now highlighting and expanding the efforts of our Access to Justice Initiative to provide leadership and focus on these critical issues. Here is what WGEF is doing to end child marriage in northern Uganda:

  • Providing sanitary products, education and support to manage menstrual health for school girls.
  • Educating communities and working with law enforcement to enforce existing laws.
  • Developing a network of leaders and school official to identify vulnerable girls.
  • Hosting community and family dialogues, to mediate and discuss incentives to oppose child marriage.

Join our effort to ensure all girls have full agency to access their human rights and determine their own futures, without fear or coercion. Support our Access to Justice team and their commitment to end child marriage in northern Uganda.

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