Foundation Campaign against Early Girl Child Marriage

0

Oluchi Chibuzor

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Bella Foundation for Child and Maternal Care (BEFCAM), has embarked on a project funded by Cummins Foundation and Rise Up Together, to advocate against early girl child marriage in Imude, a community located in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Speaking recently at a meeting with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) partners in Lagos, the programme manager, Bella Akhagba, said the prevalence of the early child marriage in the area was alarming, with grave implication if not handled urgently.

Akhagba, said the project would seek the establishment of bye-laws to ensure the sustainability of its intervention when the campaign is over.

She added that early marriage prevents girls from acquiring further education and skills that could empower them economically.
According to her: “BEFCAM conducted field research at the Imude community with about 30,000 residents and community members indicated that 4 out of every 10 girls marry before the age of 17.

“This project aims to equip programme staff, local CSO partners, and girl ambassadors with advocacy skills so that they can directly engage with the traditional ruler and other decision makers and stakeholders in their community.

“To gain support for this new by-law, they will develop and disseminate communication materials in both English and Yoruba, provide relevant Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) education and training to the girl ambassadors, and establish ‘Too Young to Marry’ clubs at 3 local secondary schools.”

Reacting to the trends in the community, the Matron of the Imude maternity and Health care centre, Mrs. Rita Amaocha, said it was imperative that government assist in providing safety nets for the beneficiaries of the project.