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. Many factors intersect to place a child at risk of marriage, including: poverty, lack of education, social norms, customary or religious beliefs that condone the practice, and an inadequate legislative framework. Often the patriarchal apparatus is ill equipped, unwilling or uninformed to enforce laws or create systems to protect young girls.
Through education, support, intervention and dialogue, VacNet and WGEF’s highly trained and respected Access to Justice team is working to stop the practice of child marriage in northern Uganda.
68% of girls are married before the age of 18 in northern Uganda; Uganda ranks 16th of countries with high rates of child marriage. Early marriage robs girls of their childhood, violates their human rights, and is a global epidemic that requires all of our attention!
Education is key to reducing child marriage! Keeping girls in school longer increases their self-confidence, understanding their self-worth, and opportunities for success and empowerment.
Poverty creates the tragic circumstances of families having to choose between survival and ‘selling’ their daughters into marriage. Often girls feel they have no other choices available to them.
The long and brutal conflict in northern Uganda created lapses in development and just recently women have become aware of their basic human rights to live free from violence and coercion. In addition, Uganda hosts large numbers of refugees, including those from South Sudan and the DRC where marriages are hastily arranged with no one to advocate for the child
Child marriage endangers the physical and emotional well-being of a child. Consequences include sexual violence, increase in sexually transmitted diseases, complications of childbirth, decrease in access to education and economic independence.
We 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 we 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 expanding the effort of our Access to Justice to
Our Objective: To contribute to the reduction of child marriage and teen pregnancy across northern Uganda by expanding our Access to Justice Initiative to focus additional resources on issues of child marriage.
Creating awareness about the dangers of child marriage and early pregnancy in Uganda.
Provide leadership and education for community members and leaders to influence positive policies around gender justice and human rights.
Strengthen community based advocacy and activism around human rights and justice.
Providing intervention, mediation, and support for young women and girls affected by child marriage; facilitating dialogues between community, families and leaders.
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.
Please visit www.wgefund.org / www. vacnetwork.org
to donate or learn more. It’s about justice, period.