UN in Zimbabwe in child marriages headache
By Staff Writer
THE United Nations (UN) in Zimbabwe continues to face headaches over the rise in child marriages amid optimism that pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will partly resolve the challenges.
Statistics shows that child marriages remain rampant in Zimbabwe with one woman out of three getting married before the age of 18.
Addressing stakeholders recently, United Nations Resident coordinator, Edward Kallon said a raft of measures implemented by the global organ will assist to eliminate the tide in the country.
“The United Nations in Zimbabwe through the newly adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (2022-2026) promotes interventions to tackle poverty, eliminate Gender-Based Violence and all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage.
“ A number of UN initiatives including the Spotlight Initiative continue to champion the prevention of child marriages in the country,” he said.
UNICEF representative doctor Tajudeen Oyewale expressed gratitude to the partners who responded to in joining hands to increase public awareness on the high percentage of girls being married before 18, and to call on everybody to act against child marriage.
UNFPA country representative Doctor Esther Muia said the impact of child marriage and its negative health and social empowerment outcomes is not to be underestimated in Zimbabwe.
“The well-being and the fulfillment of adolescent and young women’s full potential depend on our Joint, cohesive action to eliminate this practice.
“Everyone can play a role in the Action to end Child Marriage. Policymakers, communities, gatekeepers, religious and traditional leaders, the Media, the private and public sectors, and development, and humanitarian actors. Together we must act to ensure a better future for the future leaders of Zimbabwe,” she said.
UN Women Representative, Ms. Fatou Aminata Lo applauded the recent adoption of legislation setting the legal age for marriage to 18 years.
“This is a major development that comes as a result of years of evidence-based advocacy and we owe it to the girls of this country to enforce this law so that they can be seen for what they are: girls, not brides, not free labour, not commodities. Girls looking up to us to remove the many obstacles society has put on their pathways,” she said.
Ahead of the Day of the African Child (16 June) UNICEF and partners, including football star Marveous Nakamba, singer Selmor Mtukudzi and UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador, rugby star Tendai (the Beast) Mtawarira, made a pledge to promote the role of women in society and to end child marriage. The pledge calls on everyone to become a role model in her or his own community for the empowerment of women and against child marriage.