ACTIVE VOICES PARTICIPATE IN A 3-DAY RETREAT ON ENDING CHILD MARRIAGE
Child Marriage is one of the developmental challenges facing Nigeria, especially in the northern region of the country with over 23 million girls married off before their 18th birthday (UNICEF, 2017). As members of the child marriage technical working group in Nigeria, Active Voices participated in a 3-day retreat on building the capacity of members on ending child marriage in Nigeria, organized by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development with support from Save the Child international.
The event which was held in Kaduna State from the 7th – 9th May, 2019 had in attendance participants from both the Federal and State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (Abuja & Kaduna), Federal Ministry of Justice, National Human Rights Commission, NAPTIP, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Education, National Orientation Agency, National Population Commission, Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations.
During the retreat, Active Voices representative, Mrs. Damilola Babaranti, presented a brief on Active Voices project – Community Level Advocacy on Ending Child Marriage (CLADE) in Dattawa community, Rigasa, Kaduna State. The CLADE project sought to contribute to the reduction in the practice of child marriage in Dattawa community, while advocating for the promotion of girl child education as a way of delaying the age of marriage. Through advocacy and engagement with religious leaders in Dattawa community, Active Voices ensured five (5) girls continued their education, three (3) of whom would have been married out without the intervention of the CLADE project.
The Director of Child Development, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Jummai Mohammed stated that the activities of the technical working group led to the Presidential Launch of the campaign to End Child Marriage along with the National Strategy to end the practice of Child Marriage in Nigeria (2016 – 2021). She also observed that stakeholders were doing a lot in the area of ending child marriage in Nigeria and urged them to report their activities to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to enrich Nigeria’s report at National and International forums.