Change a girl's life.
Child marriage, or early marriage, is defined as any marriage where at least one of the participants is under 18. All child marriage is internationally considered forced marriage, and a human rights violation. Twenty percent of girls globally are married under the age of 18, and in the least developed countries that number doubles to 40% (OHCHR). Child marriage is one form of forced marriage, which is defined as one or both parties did not enter the marriage of their own volition with full, free, and informed consent.
Over 650 million women worldwide today were married before the age of 18, with an estimated 12 million more girls being married each year. An additional 120 million girls are at risk of being married by 2030 if current rates continue (UNICEF).
In Kenya, the rate of child marriage is at 23%, with 4% of those girls being married off before the age of 15. Even though it was made illegal over a decade ago, this practice still continues in many communities.
Child marriage is a threat to girls’ health and to their futures, as girls that are married young often become pregnant as teenagers, with nine out of 10 pregnancies within a marriage or union in developing countries (UNFPA). This drastically increases the risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth for these girls, as this is the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide. Girls who are married as children are also more likely to experience domestic violence (UNICEF).
In addition, child marriage also leads to high drop out rates as girls miss out on education as they are forced to take on household responsibilities, and are at increased risk for contracting HIV (UNFPA). In addition to the significant physical and emotional damage child marriage causes an individual girl, the resulting impact on her community is also important to consider. Girls who continue their education and are provided with economic opportunities can contribute to the growth of the global economy, and to the resilience of their local communities.
Mekuno Project aims to eliminate child marriage and other harmful traditional practices in Kenya through utilizing a holistic approach that addresses its root causes.
Mekuno Project supports solutions that work. By connecting and funding projects that eliminate the root causes of FGM and child marriage in Kenya, the conditions are set for hope-filled futures to flourish.