How COVID-19 is impacting efforts to end child marriage across Africa
Every October 11th, the world comes together to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. Whilst it is a day to celebrate global progress in protecting and promoting girls’ rights, this year, against the backdrop of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear to see how much work we have still have to do.
Child marriage is happening on every continent except Antarctica, in the United States alone, approximately 248,000 children were married between 2000 and 2010. It is a human rights violation that legitimizes abuse and denies girls’ autonomy under the guise of culture, honor, tradition, and religion. Regardless of where in the world she lives, child marriage deprives a girl of a future in which she can reach her full potential and furthers a dangerous cycle of oppression and harm.
The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating many of the complex factors that drive child marriage while simultaneously disrupting the work of the many organizations working at a community level around the world to end the practice.