Together, we can end child marriage in Uganda


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‘'Help me. Help me!'' she yelled as she ran towards us. Mary (not her real name) was 10 years old when her father and brother decided to get her married to a 50-year-old man in order to gain money from her bride price. She refused to accept the marriage and told her family members that she was still too young to get married. Her family members insisted and made arrangements for the wedding. The night before the wedding day, Mary decided to run away and luckily enough, found her way to GirlAid, a community-based project whose mission is to end child marriage in Uganda.

According to UNICEF, Uganda has the 16th  highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world and the 10th highest absolute number of child brides globally – 787,000. At GirlAid project , we are carrying out a number of projects that can be implemented by any organization to end child marriage in Uganda, including:

Investing in girls' education. One of the projects GirlAid carries out is providing girls from impoverished communities with free education opportunities through sponsorship and scholarships. Education is one of the biggest factors in preventing child marriage. An educated girl is more likely to marry later, have fewer children, earn more money, invest in her children and become a force for change in society.

Poverty eradication. When faced with extreme poverty, some families sell off their daughters into marriage in order to gain wealth in the form of money, property or other form of payment paid to the parents by a groom or his family. As a result, the girls are forced  to drop out of school and get married at a very young age. One of the ways GirlAid is addressing this issue is by empowering families economically through equipping them with business skills  and business start-up loans.

Sensitizing traditional communities about the dangers of child marriage. Local communities need to be sensitized about the dangers of child marriage. Girls who get married before the age of 18 are at a higher risk of dying during childbirth. More so, when a child is born of a mother younger than 18, research shows there is a higher risk of him or her suffering from either stunting (physical and mental underdevelopment through undernutrition) or mortality. In addition, girls who marry early are more likely to experience poor health, have more children over their lifetime, and earn less in adulthood. This makes it more likely that their household will live in poverty. GirlAid therefore holds monthly sensitization workshops in different Ugandan communities because together we can end child marriage.



Sheilla Ayebare

Blog4Dev Uganda winner

Kasenene Patrick
July 28, 2020

Hello Sheila, thank you for the efforts you are doing to educate the communities about early marriage, but l think you still have a lot to do here in Uganda, for example l come from the western part of the Uganda particularly Ibanda district, l met this young girl who is physically challenge, she can not walk she crawls neither could she speak properly and her mother can not move with her to the garden, so she stays in the compound at home until the mother comes back from the garden, to feed her or clean her because she can not help herself, you can imagine the situation that girl can goes through. Leaving that a side as l was talking to the mother the life she goes through to take care of her and how she does it, she told me " taking care of her is not a problem, but taking care of her son is the problem" this girl before she had a baby, she had been raped three times, giving birth on the forth time. I shade a tear, this girl has a 4 year old baby from a man no one knows, the boy should be going to school now but due to the fact that the grandmother can't afford school fees, the kid is at home. so sheila with your organization you need to go deep in the villages, provide for such, educate the communities, let it be a responsibility of the community to know that such girls are also human beings. Other wise thanks for the good work. I remain Patrick K

Ann Katiti
March 16, 2021

Well done for all the great and life changing work you are doing through GirlAid sadly much needed and thankfully being addressed one girl at a time by you!!! we salute you!!

Khamis Emmanuel Napoleon
March 16, 2021

Hello Sheilla,
Thanks alot for the educating our children both young men and girls on issues of Child marriage in our societies,it happens in and around the Refugees society in Adjumani district

Komakech Abraham
March 16, 2021

I really witness the wrong deeds on our girls leading a massive poverty due to family disconnectedness resulting into school dropouts and forced marriage .....
I regard there's a lot to be done to kick it out