Kabul 04 June 2016 – UNFPA, Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan organized a workshop to bring together the public and the private sectors and the international community to gather feedback on the draft of a National Action Plan to Eliminate Early and Child Marriage in Afghanistan.
The national workshop took place in Kabul after a series of four preliminary workshops in four different zones of the country; Kandahar, Herat, Nangarhar and Bamiyan to collect views and opinions in a participatory and inclusive process that should guide the development of such an Action Plan.
According to the global initiative, “Girls Not Brides” in developing countries, 1 in 9 girls is married before the age of 15 and 1 in 3 girls is married before the age of 18. In the same developing countries, that includes Afghanistan, every year millions of girls between 14 – 15 years old are married before they reach the age 18.
Early and Child marriage is a human right violation. Issues that lead to child marriage are numerous with the most common being poverty, gender inequality, traditional practices and insecurity. The consequences of child marriage are especially devastating to girls. It robs them of their childhood and opportunities for education. Early and child marriage also results in early pregnancy with the young girls becoming mothers while still children themselves, if they survive the complications of pregnancy and delivery.
In low and middle income countries, such as Afghanistan, pregnancy and childbirth complications are among the leading causes of death in girls aged 15 – 19.
In Afghanistan UNFPA helps promote legislations and programs designed to end early and child marriage. The development of the Action Plan to Eliminate Early and Child Marriage is also one in the series of UNFPA’s efforts to eliminate early and child marriage.
The action plan will help in better and reinforced coordination among stakeholders in the government, the UN family and the donor community to address early and child marriage. It will further strengthen and facilitate institutional support mechanism for joint programming on early and child marriage and address the causes.