Mozambique: Addressing Child Marriage Concerns

Child Marriage

Child marriage is on the rise in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province, highlighting gaps in child rights protection.

Development Diaries reports that the escalated violence in the region is driving the adoption of girls who are forced into marriage, according to Save the Children.

We understand that there has been a ten percent increase in recorded cases of child marriage in 2023 compared to the previous year with serious concerns for the number to rise further as the conflict rages on.

A surge of attacks in Cabo Delgado since January 2024 has led to school closures, putting more than 22,700 children out of the classroom so far this year.

The violence has also led to the widespread destruction of property and displacement.

Save the Children’s report on gender and power analysis of child marriage in Cabo Delgado shows parents were encouraging the act to get money to feed their families as the conflict has depleted household incomes, weakened protection services, and led to a lack of opportunities for adolescents.

The report also shows that cases of forced marriage have taken place after the abduction of girls by organised armed groups, or as a strategy to resolve sexual abuse, with families opting to receive assets or money as dowry compensation.

‘Child marriage not only robs girls of their childhood but also has severe long-term consequences on their health, education, and overall development’, Save the Children’s Country Director in Mozambique, Brechtje van Lith, said in a statement.

‘It perpetuates a cycle of poverty and inequality, impacting not just the individual child but also the wider community.

‘The girls of Cabo Delgado have the right to a secure future of their choice, including the right to an education and a career, the right to decide if, when, and whom they marry and have children; and the right to access quality health care and social services. It is our collective duty to protect these girls’.

Development Diaries calls on all parties to the conflict to respect the integrity and rights of children, ensuring that they are not targets and are not forced into marriage.

Source: Save the Children

Photo source: DFID


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