Solutions to end child marriage in my country, Chad

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Louange Madjiyam, lauréate du concours Blog4Dev au Tchad.  Louange Madjiyam, lauréate du concours Blog4Dev au Tchad.

Chad has abundant human resources for its development, as its population is largely very young.  Women outnumber men in Chad. However, it must be acknowledged that they face major problems, in particular child marriage.

Despite the efforts of the authorities to end child marriage, this practice is significantly impacting victims and is reaching alarming proportions. In reality, it is not enough for laws to be enacted and international conventions signed. Attitudes must also change. As the influence exerted by traditions and extremist religious principles account for this situation, consideration must be given to realistic and more tailored solutions in order to end this practice. 

The first step is to ramp up poverty reduction strategies. Some poor families marry off their daughters, often at too young an age, because they prefer to have rich sons-in-law to provide them with assistance and a way out of poverty. 

The next step is to lift the burden imposed by traditions, as most ethnic groups in Chad are heavily influenced by their customs, according to which a woman is first and foremost a mother and wife and is under the control of her husband. For this reason, she passes from her father’s to her husband’s control. These customs rarely protect the interests of girls.

The government also has its role to play by strengthening its policies to promote girls, adopting a less passive approach to the application of conventions related to the rights of girls and, better still, further integrating women into public and political life so that their voices can be heard.

Combating sexism or promoting gender equality must begin at home and at school.  Although we are in the twenty-first century, the pictures in textbooks remain overly stereotypical—they generally portray girls going to the market and boys going to the office. It is time to stop limiting the role of women to the home. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that young girls are aware of their rights, as most of these girls who are forced into marriage are unaware of the fact that the law allows them to voice their dissent to such marriages. 

To succeed at this effort, special emphasis must be placed on raising awareness by inviting parents with changed views, victims, religious leaders, and traditional chiefs to speak out on the issue. Several channels of communication can be used to raise awareness—the print media, radio, television, posters, movies, and social media can disseminate messages in the official and most widely spoken local languages.

The only way to end child marriage once and for all is to raise general awareness of this issue and work toward according greater importance to girls by giving them the tools to lead successful lives.


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