Monday, February 22, 2016

An envoy urges strong commitments on children's rights

The Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Alexandre Lévêque has said Tanzania and other African nations can end early and forced child marriage especially if they were committed to promoting women and children rights. The envoy said over the weekend in Dar es Salaam when he briefed reporters over the First African Girls’ Summit which was held in Lusaka Zambia and organised by the African Union.  He said if we were to end child abuse, early and forced marriage then the governments and other stakeholders must improve and support fully participation of women in all   civil society organisations. Lévêque said through the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health-DFATD’s network of missions around the world, “Canada is working to raise awareness of the harmful impacts of Child Early and Forced Marriage—CEFM and generate dialogue about ending this practice.” Tanzania being one of countries with the highest early marriage prevalence rate has recorded a slight decrease from 37 per cent in 2013 to 26 per cent in 2014 of the women aged 20-24 being married before their 18th birthday. Prevalence is highest in Shinyanga Region which has 59 per cent, followed by Tabora (58), Mara (55), Dodoma (53), Lindi (48), Mbeya (45), Morogoro (42), Singida (42), Rukwa(40), Ruvuma (39), Mwanza (37), Kagera (36), Mtwara (35), Manyara (34), Coast (33), Tanga (29), Arusha (27), Kilimanjaro (27), Kigoma (26), Dar es Salaam (19), and Iringa  eight per cent. According to the envoy, Canada has announced a contribution of $20 million over two years to UNICEF towards ending CEFM in July 2014. The UNICEF project aims to accelerate the movement to end child marriage in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Yemen and Zambia by supporting efforts in those countries to strengthen programming and political support to end the practice. “We are also pleased to be providing institutional support to Girls not Brides, a global partnership to end child marriage. Canada is proud to support local-level community groups, non-government organisations, civil society organisations and local governments around the world in their CEFM programming efforts through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.”

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