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Commit Resources To End Child Marriage - Graca Machel
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Graca Machel
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Madam Graca Machel, Former South African First Lady, has tasked world leaders to put in measures and resources to end child marriage and keep the fight as a priority at all levels.

She said ending child marriage should be classified as a priority and be placed at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals of post 2015 development agenda.

The former South African First Lady was speaking at a meeting with key leaders, advocates, and supporters, to discuss the need to end child marriage, as part of the on-going 69th United Nations General Assembly session in New York. The Ford Foundation organized the side sessions.

Nelson Mandela’s widow explained that there were 150 million girls who each year who got into early marriage and called for the need to touch the hearts of these young women.

“Child marriage is a significant barrier to education and increases the likelihood of physical and mental abuse as well as coercion into sexual relationships where early pregnancy puts their health at risk,” she said.

She, therefore, stressed the need to support parents, build their resilience, and capacity to ensure that the girl-child stayed in school.

Ms Machel, who is also an International advocate for Women and Children’s Rights, urged world leaders to remember that; “The girl-child has the same rights as the boy child”.

One hundred and forty two million girls, she said, would be married as children.

Ms Pamela Shifman, Executive Director of No Vo Foundation, called on governments worldwide to put in more funding directed at ending child marriage whilst implementing national strategies as well as national plans to end early marriage.

Mr Joseph Calvaruso, Executive Director of Ford Foundation, said through the global partnership with other NGOs, governments, and champions of girls and women, “we are breaking the cycle of child marriage and opening up the possibility for more inclusive societies”.

He called for the education and empowerment of girls, improved reproductive health, the involvement of more men and traditional leaders in the campaign, and the enactment and enforcement of laws that would set the age for marriage.
Source: GNA

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