The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has partnered with Botswana’s
ministry of health and wellness in a bid to end child marriages and gender
based violence, an official said Saturday.
Boago Makatane, UNFPA’s program specialist, told an Action
for Adolescent Girls workshop in Francistown, Botswana’s second largest city,
that female genital mutilation must end in order to achieve transformative
Latest statistics show that 1,644 children were found to be
in marriage relationships while 3,748 were living in cohabitation in the
southern African country, said Makatane.
“Sixty per cent of the 1,644 were children aged between
12 and 15 years while the remainder is 16 to 17-year olds,” said Makatane,
adding that of the 3,748 children who are cohabiting, 41 per cent were 12 to
16-year olds while 59 per cent were 16 to 17-year olds.
He said both the age range for the married and cohabiting
children are below the legal age of consent, which is 18 years old.
Early last year, Botswana passed a law to increase the age
for legal age of consent from 16 to 18 years.
The law was expected to address incidences of defilement,
abuse of children, abductions, indecent assault and kidnapping of children
among others, Victor Paledi, the permanent secretary in the ministry of
defense, justice and security, said.
Paledi said child marriage is a toxic product of poverty and
gender inequality because girls in child marriages tend to be less educated and
live in rural areas.
“Many impoverished parents believe that marriage will
secure their daughters’ future by ensuring that another family will be
responsible for their care. This is also true in humanitarian crises when many
parents fear they will be unable to protect their daughters,” he said.
According to the UNFPA website, the global body conducts
advocacy through working with policymakers and parliamentarians to enact laws
against child marriages and to increase the minimum age at marriage to 18 for
Credit: Source link