Blog4Dev 2020: Empowering Africa’s women and girls by ending child marriage


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Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Nearly four in 10 girls marry each year before their 18th birthday, many of them becoming mothers at a young age. Child brides are much more likely to drop out of school, completing fewer years of education than those who marry later. They are also more likely to have children at a young age, adversely affecting their health, and the health and education of their children. Too many of our girls are losing their childhoods and their futures.

But child marriage isn’t just a moral issue for me. It not only hurts individual girls; it hurts communities and countries.

Child marriage will cost the region tens of billions of dollars in lost earnings and human capital wealth. It leads to high fertility rates and population growth that has outpaced economic growth for the last four years. And every year, it results in more than three million girls losing the chance to plan a productive future for themselves.

We know that keeping girls in school is one of the best ways to escape child marriage. The more years of secondary education completed, the more likely they are to marry after age 18, and the less likely they are to have children early. With a secondary education, on average, women are more likely to work and make twice as much than those with no education.

We also know that empowerment programs for adolescent girls, especially those that combine community-based clubs, life skills training and vocational training, have changed girls’ lives, creating healthy, educated, productive women. For example, in Uganda, a program for girls and young women increased the likelihood that they engaged in income-generating activities by 72%. The program also saw a significant drop in adolescent fertility, early marriage or cohabitation, and the share of girls reporting that they had sex against their will.

Men play an important role in the discussion of empowering women and girls. The Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend Project supports the Husbands and Future Husbands Schools in seven countries in the Sahel, where men meet to discuss a variety of topics related to family planning and household life.

Girls and women are the future of Africa and we need everyone to contribute to empowering them, including Africa’s young people. That is why I’m thrilled that this year’s Blog4Dev competition invited young African citizens to share their ideas for how to end child marriage in their countries.

Bloggers were eager to weigh in on this important topic; we received 2,680 entries, which represents a 121% participation increase compared to last year, with winners from 38 countries.

We expected to welcome all of the winners in Washington, D.C. during the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, we had to change our plans. We plan to invite them later this year, however in the meantime, the winners will connect with World Bank teams through a set of online activities.

On behalf of the World Bank’s Africa Region, I congratulate all of our Blog4Dev winners! They are our valuable partners and important voices in their respective countries, and I look forward to seeing their contributions in the months and years to come.

Please join me in congratulating #Blog4Dev’s 2020 winners:

Angola Luyana Canza Fernando
Benin Chanceline Mevowanou
Botswana Esther Modise
Burkina Faso Samira Ouedraogo
Burundi C. Anaïs Mwizero
Cameroon Eliane Mbende
Chad Louange Madiyam
Congo, Republic of Exaucée Wonga
Cote d'Ivoire Djeneba Siby
DR Congo Pascal Cirhuza
Eswatini Setsabile Shiba
Ethiopia Robera Haile Hamda
Gabon Orphee Ndomba
Ghana Ellen Peprah
Guinea Diariatou Diallo
Guinea Bissau Lizidória Mendes
Kenya A. Fauzia Idle
Lesotho Mantsebeng S. Maepe
Liberia Arthur Weedor
Madagascar Mamitiana Naharifelantsoa
Malawi C. Brian Kalimbuka
Mali                 Issa Doumbia
Mauritania Binta Gadio
Mozambique Edmundo Simão
Namibia Ndakondja Uusiku
Niger B. Adamou Amadou
Nigeria Ebuka Mathais Itumoh  
Rwanda Natasha Uwase
Senegal Oumou Kalsoum Diallo
Sierra Leone Samantha Oakes-Howson
Somalia A. Bahja Mohamud
South Africa Dimpho Lekgeu
South Sudan Muon Matai Peter Manuoi
Tanzania D. Davis Mazula
Togo Assoumanou Nihade
Uganda Sheilla Ayebare
Zambia Chiyana Ndonji
Zimbabwe Progress Munemo


Linda Shigolile
May 08, 2020

Congratulations world bank

Telesphory wamara
May 08, 2020

World bank is doing such a remarkable work fighting for girlchild

May 08, 2020

Am happy to hear this...we as Somali we need to study our young girls and let them achieve their dreams

Kiiza Albert
May 08, 2020

Congratulations to our own Shelia Ayebare! It's been nice to making victory.

I personally suggest that is possible, results for every individual performance should be posted. Not only winners. Thanks!

Khalfan Othuman Mohamed
May 15, 2020

Congrats Davis Mazula from Tanzania for winning the competition.

Chiyana Ndonji
May 15, 2020

The topic was an eye opener and very relevant especially in current covid times. With the surge in poverty levels during this period, the fight against early marriages cannot be overemphasized.

Thank you Worldbank for providing a platform on which we could share our views.

Nema Mseteka
May 15, 2020

Congratulations Chiyana Ndonji! Keep making us proud

May 15, 2020

Parents are the most responsible for this, the society should not act like nothing is happening just not to break the norm,who said those norms should not be broken? Who said we'll receive their curses when we'll take action and make them face the law? I think we should all be brave enough to fight this,we should stand up and condemn these practices undermining our growth. We are just like other human beings in the universe so why make us face the wrath of the world at a very young age? Let's play the game of change then.

Gum Maker Alam
May 19, 2020

Congratulations to winning authors of this year's competition.

Congrats Muon Batai Peter from South Sudan

Linda F. Flomo
June 13, 2020

Congratulations Arthur Weedor. More wins dearie

Jano Face Té
June 13, 2020

Digo Deus muito obrigado, e agradeço a equipa de banco Mundial pela essa luta, creio que chegará o dia melhor para pôr fim desta situação no nosso país a Guiné-Bissau.

June 13, 2020

Eu queria contribuir enquanto cidadão e Ativista Social na minha cidade sobretudo nas aldeias mas próximas para criar um centro de capacitação das mulheres e meninas

Santa Quintino Lima
June 13, 2020

a iniciativa dos projetos que estão a ser lançado pela organização vai ajudar muito em minimizar as questões que têm sido tabu nas distintas sociedades africanas, constituídas por multietinicidade em termos culturais e religiosa.

Mohamed Alusine Koroma
June 13, 2020

Congratulations guys

Jackson Kisangani
July 28, 2020

I Wanna be a winner the next year

Kiprotich Hosea
March 16, 2021

I would like to join the conversation as a young man and future husband. Thank blog4dev for this really important theme