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US Reveals Initiatives to Prevent Child Marriage

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As the United States of America marks theInternational Day of the Girl, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today revealed initiatives to prevent child marriage and and promote girls' education.

In her remarks at a group of Visiting Girl Scouts in honor of the First-ever International Day of the Girl in Washington DC, Ms. Clinton stresses that one of the most effective solutions to child marriage, namely education.

She reports that every year, 10 million girls under the age of 18 become child brides, and many of them under the age of 16.

child
Small child brides in India. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
And many of those girls are forced into early marriage, which robs them of the opportunity to continue their education, and it threatens their health, and it traps them in lives of poverty, Ms. Clinton said.

"The evidence shows us, and common sense would show us as well, that education can delay and even prevent child marriage, it can raise incomes, and it certainly can improve health." -Ms. Clinton

In her remarks, Ms. Clinton enumerates some of the initiatives that we are launching to try to prevent child marriage and promote girls' education.

First, Ms. Clinton says that the State Department do more to strengthen its tracking of child marriage in its annual Human Rights Reports.

"We want to send a signal to other countries that child marriage is a threat to the fundamental human rights of girls." -Ms. Clinton

Second, Ms. Clinton cites that the USAID, working with the Government of Bangladesh, will sponsor a pilot program to test different approaches to address child marriage by expanding health care, education, and legal rights.

Third, Ms. Clinton says the USAID and PEPFAR, which is the organization that deals with the HIV/AIDS and health issues around the world, will tackle some of the barriers, like cost and safety, that keep girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo from continuing their education.

"And finally, every teacher who comes to the United States through our teacher training programs will receive training to address the challenges that girls face staying in school." -Ms. Clinton
The US government will sponsor teacher exchanges focused exclusively on girls' education, Ms. Clinton added.

In addition, the US wants to know what would work in order to keep girls in school.

According to Ms. Clinton, several partners are making major commitments $20 million from the United Nations Population Fund, $25 million from the Ford Foundation to combat child marriage.

To ensure that adolescent girls in developing countries make a successful transition to secondary school, the MasterCard Foundation is investing $39 million and the MacArthur Foundation $10 million, Ms. Clinton noted.

"Now, this initiative to end child marriage by 2030 is a strong commitment from something called the Elders." -Ms. Clinton

She notes that the Elders are distinguished people around the world who come together to study problems, to speak out, and advocate.

Archbishop Tutu is one of the Elders that throughout his life he has been a great voice for justice and freedom, democracy and responsible, responsive government.

He has stood up against apartheid and for the human rights and dignity of every person.

Ms. Clinton says Archbishop Tutu is chair of the Elders, and the Elders have brought together 180 organizations to form something called Girls Not Brides, a global partnership to end child marriage by 2030.

Statistics show that the majority of girls in Asia, Africa and Latin America are married by the age of 14. According to reports, in six of the 21 sub-Saharan African countries surveyed, the average age of marriage was less than 18. In Bangladesh, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Yemen, more than half of all young women interviewed were married by age 16.

In summary, countries has denounced early marriage which can have several harmful effects on the overall well being of a young girl, or child, who is not mentally, psychologically, emotionally or physically prepared for a conjugal life.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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