Browse around our Guludo site and you can see how crazy beautiful it is here in Mozambique. However, sadly Mozambique also has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. A perfect example of why we chose Mozambique for our social enterprise (including Guludo and Nema) and why we are so passionate about working alongside our local communities to build a future which brings more opportunities to young girls (and boys) to marry when the time is right for them.
UNICEF state that child marriage in Mozambique affects 14% of girls under 15 years, and 48% of girls under 18. They warned that Mozambique has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.
The simple reason so many young girls are married so young is poverty. In our area, at least, it is common for a daughter to becomes a drain on the family and they believe it best for everyone (the girl included) if she marries and starts her own family. The solution, of course, is not so simple. Poverty is not an easy nut to crack! However, we all passionately believe it must start and end with education.
“It is wrong and against God’s will for a young girl to get married before she is ready but it is sadly very common when a family have little food and arranging a marriage will mean that they will be better off and have one less mouth to feed.”
Quissirua, Guludo’s Operations Manager & Community Leader
Child marriage creates a vicious circle. With little or no education, a young mother is less equipped to make informed decisions for a daughter who is then less likely to regularly attend school, more likely to suffer from preventable diseases and highly likely to become a child bride herself.
Empowering a girl AND her community with education can break this cycle.
All of Nema’s project involve education and capacity building, however, our education projects have the greatest impact on the girls.
- PROVIDING SCHOOL MEALS: This encourages parents to send their daughters to school instead of helping in the fields or looking after younger children as well as provide the children with much needed nutrition.
- SCHOLARSHIPS: Generally, parents would far rather send their daughters to school than marry them off but lack the means to do so.
- BUILDING SCHOOLS: Helping to equip teacher with the facilities they need to teach the children.
These projects aren’t the silver bullet that will end child marriage but a significant step forward which is already reaching hundreds of girls.
“The situation is improving. More people want to send their daughters to school. They can see there are opportunities for them to go to secondary school and maybe even get a job”.
However, funds are scarce to both continue and develop these project. As little as £5 per month can help keep a girl in school. This will go directly towards buying food for school meals or school boarding fees — ALL of it will work hard and make a difference to the children living in our area.
Originally published at https://www.guludo.com on June 5, 2015.