Target: President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique and President Edgar Lungu of Zambia
Goal: Put an end to abusive sexual initiation practices and help protect young girls from child marriage.
Young girls ages eight to 13 are being sent away to camps where they are taught how to please men, learning both domestic and sexual talents that are instilled in them through abusive tactics in Mozambique and Zambia. The President of Mozambique and President of Zambia need to better enforce the laws protecting children and show that the efforts of groups like World Vision are backed by government.
Communities leaders can fine parents if daughters are of age but haven’t sent them off to be trained, putting parents in an even more difficult financial situation. Initiation can last a week and older women allegedly have the girls practice different moves, beating them if they don’t perform them correctly.
Child marriage and the practices that go along with it remain common in rural areas of Africa due to the bride price, where a husband’s family will pay off the wive’s family for her heirs. Where the bride price reduces the chance of domestic abuse, it also brings up the rates of child marriage in poor areas where the exchange of money is vital, especially for families losing future providers.
World Vision has been working to help eliminate initiation and child marriage by using local spiritual leaders in rural areas to help spread awareness. Spiritual leaders, both Christian and Muslim, have much sway in the community, however, simple word of mouth is not enough to help protect these girls.
Both countries need to better instill the laws regarding child marriage and support the education of women. By enforcing laws meant to protect children, girls can be saved from the trials of initiation and child marriage. Sign the petition below to urge President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique and President Edgar Lungu of Zambia to work with World Vision to help eliminate child marriage and protect the well-being of young girls in Africa.
Dear President Nyusi and President Lungu,
Thousands of young girls in your countries are being improperly protected by the laws meant to stop them from being forced into marriages. They are being subjected to the dangers of early birth and the mental and physical suffering of initiation training.
Girls should not be having to learn how to please a man at the age of eight, and communities should not be allowed to punish parents who try to protect their young girls. World Vision is working on the community level to try and spread a message to leaders that will help protect young girls, but the country needs to start working at a legal level.
Reminding communities that it is illegal to marry off girls under the age of 18 and giving incentives to help protect their daughters and neighbors will help push the fight to end child marriage. These girls are part of the future of your countries, and they should live a life where they get the chance to receive an education and live free of physical trauma and childhood marriage.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: hdptcar