Tanzania, Unicef launch campaign to end child marriage

by IANS |

Dar es Salaam, July 29 (IANS) The government of Tanzania and the Unicef have launched a campaign aimed at ending child marriage in the country.

The statement from the Unicef said the campaign, which was launched on Wednesday and called Binti, meaning daughter in Kiswahili, aims to rally public support to increase girls' marriage age and change societal perceptions about the importance of the girl child, reports Xinhua news agency.

An estimated three in 10 women in Tanzania get married as children, making it home to the 11th largest number of child brides worldwide, said the statement.

The statement said preventing child marriage is an entry point to addressing broader issues around children and young peoples' aspirations and life opportunities, the value of girls in society, breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty, and ensuring the roles of young people as agents of change.

"We need to take a closer look at the opportunities that girls in Tanzania are missing out on due to child marriage," said Shalini Bahuguna, the Unicef representative in Tanzania.

"When girls are conditioned to expect to sacrifice their learning, childhood, and dreams in order to get married, it's damaging to their mental health, and they are exposed to a cycle of violence, exploitation, health challenges, and poverty. They cannot fulfil their full potential and contribute meaningfully to society."

With a population of nearly 60 million and more than 50 per cent under 18 years, Tanzania is experiencing increasing demands for quality education, improved healthcare, and growing challenges for young people to get employment, among other bottlenecks, said the statement.

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