FORCED EARLY MARRIAGE
Globally, it is estimated that approximately one-third of girls living in the developing world (excluding China) are married before age 18. These millions of girls are defined as "children" by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In most instances, child marriage marks an abrupt initiation into sexual relations, often with a husband who is considerably older and a stranger. At the age of marriage, girls have few social connections, restricted mobility, limited control over resources, and often little decision making power in their new households. The “Hot Spots" of child marriage in Africa (both West and Northeast) and South Asia are the countries and communities with the highest proportion of child brides.
Sauti Yetu's work preventing forced early marriage include but are not limited to the following areas:
- Documenting the prevalence of the practice within the communities we work.
- Raising awareness in the community.
- Protection and safety of girls.
- Training for service providers on how to support girls who may be potential victims or already married
- Engaging families (nuclear and extended family) both here and in their countries of origin to protect girls from early marriage by advocating school enrollment and attendance.
- Public policy advocacy with city and state education institutions and the child welfare systems.
- Developing tools and materials for families and government institutions to bring awareness to the issues of early child marriage.