Kigali – Chido Cleopatra Mpemba, the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Special Envoy on Youth, has urged governments, civic society, the UN, and communities to hear the voices of young women and girls to prevent child marriages.
On the occasion of Nelson Mandela Day, Mpemba addressed participants at the ongoing Women Deliver Conference, high-level intergenerational panel alongside Co-Chairs of the Elders Graça Machel and Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson and Canadian Minister of International Development Harjitt Sajjan.
The panel discussed the strategies to end child marriages, while HE Mpemba strengthened the need for the creation of platforms for young women and girls to share their stories and solutions more practically.
“Let us push to have young women and girls as champions against CEFMU in every organization and society we work with, we know that their voices and views must be at the heart of solutions and so they must be heard.”
She said strengthening partnerships and collaboration as well as investing in education is key in fighting against early child marriages.
“Comprehensive Sexuality Education must be ensured through integration into school curricula and youth programs, particularly where child marriage prevalence is high. Holding our leaders accountable, governments, multilateral organizations, and the civic society must be committed to ending child marriages.”
Progress needs to be multiplied by 20 if child marriages are to be ended by 2030 as according to a recent UNICEF report at the current rate of progress, it will take another 300 years to end CEFMU.
Women Deliver 2023 is the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women in the 21st century.