Educating children and parents is the best weapon to end child marriage in Tanzania

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Davis Mazula, Blog4Dev Tanzania winner Davis Mazula, Blog4Dev Tanzania winner

According to World Bank, almost one in three Tanzanian girls marry as children, and almost one in four have their first child before the age of 18. These high numbers imply that child marriage in Tanzania is nothing but an epidemic begging for immediate solutions. However, the bright side is Tanzania stands to generate $5 billion annually by ending child marriage according to the same report. 

The creeping factors of child marriage in Tanzania revolve around customs, poverty and low levels of education. This means that girls who are least educated, poorest and living in rural areas are most likely to be married at a young age. It is thus important to structure solutions around the orbit of the aforementioned factors.  

Educating victims, perpetrators and every individual in the society will help change mindsets and illuminate the negative impact child marriage has on girls and the whole society. The more accessible social constructive education is to young girls and their surrounding societies, the less chances they have to get married at a young age. Access to free secondary education that enlightens students about sex education and imparts girls with skills to generate livelihood helps them to know and exercise their rights and ultimately, eliminate child marriage.  

What’s more, educating parents and adults through adult education and village council meeting could help fight this social crisis. Educated parents are less likely to marry off their daughters as children compared to uneducated parents.  

Even though Tanzania already took a step to end child marriage by establishing a minimum age for marriage—thanks to Rebeca Gyumi, a gender activist who fought to make sure this happen—advocating for implementation of this law and setting policies to protect girls is still a critical requirement to ensure no girls are victims of child marriage. Implementation of this law can be advocated through social media and campaigns like “Msichana Initiative” which supports girls’ education and addresses challenges faced by girls in the community.  

It is also important to have every individual regardless of their gender, acting as an activist to fight child marriage. Youth mostly especially, can help campaign against child marriage on social media platforms, conduct awareness campaigns to empower girls and mobilize families and communities by providing community-based interventions to address social norms that deleteriously affect girls.  

Equally important, the Tanzanian government, non-governmental organizations and individual persons with the ability to provide sufficient services to girls, such as education, health, transport to schools, hygiene facilities and other basic needs should do so in order to prevent them from needing to be married to access such services.  

Fighting child marriage calls for concerted multi-sectoral effort among key stakeholders as well as every citizen to take part into ending this social crisis. This will also help to minimize domestic violence, maternal health and infant health risks which are problems associated with child marriage. It is therefore vital work and our duty as a society to end child marriage and restore human rights for all girls. 


Davis Mazula

Blog4Dev Tanzania winner

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