Education Non-Profit Urges Presidents of Kenya and Tanzania To Join Fight To End Child Marriages

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 26, 2017

Education Non-Profit Urges Presidents of Kenya and Tanzania To Join Fight To End Child Marriages

Oakland, CA — — Asante Africa Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to educating the children of East Africa, released on open letter to the Presidents of Tanzania and Kenya urging them to support ending child marriages in Africa by 2030. The open letter, which was sent to both Presidents today, is in response to the Presidents of Uganda, Zambia and Malawi voicing their support at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly to end child marriages throughout Africa.

Written by Asante Africa Foundation’s Founder Erna Grasz, the letter implores Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Tanzanian President John Magufuli to pledge for their countries to join the fight against child marriages. Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls are married before their 18th birthday. Africa has the largest majority of child marriages, accounting for 15 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage globally and the world’s highest prevalence of adolescent pregnancies.

The letter read:

Your excellences, when a girl marries young, she is too often robbed of her right to get an education and succeed outside of the home. She has an increased risk of dangerous complications including serious injury or death if she gives birth before her body is ready to. She is more likely to contract HIV/AIDS and experience domestic violence. She is not emotionally or physically ready to be wed and the impact on her and her family is devastating.

An educated girl can and will change the world if they are given an opportunity to learn. We must ensure that the next generation of women are given the chance to receive a quality education and provided adequate time to fully develop into adults before marriage. Your countries desperately need action now to fix this crisis.

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear President Kenyatta and President Magufuli,

Greetings Your Excellences. As you are aware, Presidents from Uganda, Zambia and Malawi are voicing their support to end child marriages in Africa by 2030. This promise to give girls’ a better chance of a future, is vital to every country in Africa and around the world.

Based on the outcomes from the UN Summit, child marriage is still recognized as a number one problem in East Africa. Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls are married before their 18th birthday. Africa has the largest majority of child marriages. In fact, Africa accounts for 15 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage globally and the world’s highest prevalence of adolescent pregnancies. This is a sad statistic for the future of Africa because child marriages are detrimental to not only the girls but to the future of the continent.

Your excellences, when a girl marries young, she is too often robbed of her right to get an education and succeed outside of the home. She has an increased risk of dangerous complications including serious injury or death if she gives birth before her body is ready to. She is more likely to contract HIV/AIDS and experience domestic violence. She is not emotionally or physically ready to be wed and the impact on her and her family is devastating.

Studies have shown that educating a girl is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote development and economic growth in a country. Educated girls are less likely to experience sexual violence, be forced to marry against their will, and have unplanned pregnancies. They are more likely to earn an income, have healthy babies and instill in their children the value of an education.

At Asante Africa Foundation, we have the incredible opportunity to work with schools in Kenya and Tanzania. We are blessed to meet and work with amazing young girls who dream of getting an education and contributing to making your countries more prosperous. If you don’t take action to end child marriages then these girls will not have the opportunities they deserve to make a difference.

Although child marriages are slowly declining worldwide, the number of child brides will remain at 750 million in 2030 unless action is taken right now. We urge you to join President Edgar Lungu of Zambia, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Peter Mutharika of Malawi and pledge your support to end all child marriages in Africa by 2030.

An educated girl can and will change the world if they are given an opportunity to learn. We must ensure that the next generation of women are given the chance to receive a quality education and provided adequate time to fully develop into adults before marriage. Your countries desperately need action now to fix this crisis.

Sincerely,

Erna Grasz

Founder of Asante Africa Foundation

About Asante Africa Foundation

Asante Africa Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit educating East Africa’s youth to tackle life’s challenges, thrive in the global economy and catalyze positive change. We partner with local communities to address the root causes preventing children from receiving a quality education and provide tools to apply their knowledge beyond the classroom. Our programs have kept nearly 360,000 students in school, trained more than 11,000 teachers and changed the future of 200+ African communities — a new generation of change agents transforming Africa and the world. Learn more at www.asanteafrica.org or email info@asanteafrica.org.

Submit a Comment