A national girls’ meeting takes place this weekend in Burkina Faso to promote raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 for girls and boys. According to Unicef, Burkina Faso has the fifth highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world. 52% of girls in Burkina Faso are married before their 18th birthday and 10% are married before the age of 15. The theme this weekend: ‘The promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights and the strengthening of services legal systems favourable to girls in Burkina Faso: challenges and perspectives.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Burkina Faso, and of the Mission of the Ministry of Women, the Director of Gender Promotion and inclusive education of girls, international organizations and several political authorities such as the Governor, the High Commissioner, the Prefect and the Mayor. During the event girls formulated an advocacy message in which they argue to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 years for both girls and boys.
One of the six strategies Her Choice applies in the field addresses creating an enabling legal and policy environment on preventing child marriage. We do this through supporting traditional leaders and (local) authorities to enforce national policies on preventing child marriage.
The advocacy ceremony of the meeting started with a girls’ speech summarizing the achievements of the girls’ clubs. After that girls and boys divided into groups for poem production workshops, creating theatrical sketches on child marriage and SRHR, the production of thank-you motions and recommendations to national political authorities.
Thereafter two girls recited a touching poem in duet: ‘We must lift the silence from child marriage’ they chanted. The Hunger Project Burkina Faso also recited a poem on child marriage, with the title: ‘The cry of the heart of a girl who is afraid to be married too early.’
Local partners of Her Choice
The girls’ meeting is organised by all seven local partners of Her Choice in Burkina Faso: Centre Kadiogo Association d’Appui et d’Eveil Pugsada (ADEP ), Centre Nord Action Féminine pour le Développement Participatif (AFDP), Nord Yatenga Association des Jeunes pour le Bien-être Familial (AJBF), Centre-Sud Zoundwéogo Association Zak-La-Yilguemdé (AZLY), Boucle du Mounhoun Sourou Association Dembagnouma, Hauts-Bassins Houet Association Maïa (these first six are linked to Her Choice alliance member Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland) and The Hunger Project Burkina Faso.