Early marriage is a form of sexual and gender-based violence with detrimental physical, social and economic effects. Niger has the highest child marriage rate in the world with 77 percent of girls married by age 18 and 30 percent married by age 15. Forty-two percent of adolescent girls give birth before the age of 17. A high proportion of school-aged girls are not in school and 73 percent of adolescent girls, ages 15-19, cannot read or write.
Zonta International has committed US$1,000,000 to UNFPA to reduce early marriage and early pregnancy in a critical mass of communities in Niger.
How Zonta helps
This project is part of a five-year (2013-2017) global UNFPA Adolescent Girls Initiative. With Zonta International’s support, UNFPA will reach 11,000 adolescent girls over two years (2016-2018) with 400,000 members of their communities benefiting from increased awareness.
Zonta International’s contribution of US$1,000,000 will help:
- Improve the health of adolescent girls
- Ensure an education for adolescent girls
- Protect adolescent girls from violence
- Encourage the leadership of adolescent girls
- Use data for adolescent decision-making and advocacy
- Support advocacy at the national level with ministers and the Parliament to raise age of marriage to 18.
- Advocate at the national and regional levels for the enforcement of laws in hardest-to-reach populations.
- Engage international agencies and civil society to coordinate efforts in the adolescent girls programming domain.
As a result, adolescent girls will:
- Develop health, social and economic assets.
- Know their rights and be in a stronger position to defend them.
- Be safer and have a measure of protection against violence.