This month, America Abroad travels to Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nepal and Pakistan to talk to individuals and organizations working to change laws and change minds about child marriage. We also talk to Mabel van Oranje, the founder of Girls Not Brides, who aims to end child marriage in one generation.
A practice that often goes along with child marriage is female genital mutilation — the tradition of cutting a girl's clitoris before she marries. It's estimated that 125 million women and girls have had that done to them. And advocates say you can’t address child marriage without addressing this practice.
A global issue like child marriage takes a global effort to change it, and that ‘s the idea behind Girls Not Brides, an organization founded in 2011 with this mission: end child marriage in one generation. Our host, Madeleine Brand spoke to the chair and founder of Girls Not Brides, Mabel van Oranje, about how she plans to meet her goal.
In the southern part of Ethiopia, abducting children and forcing them into marriage is still a common practice. But advocates have found a unique way to change public opinion about this tradition: making and screening the award-winning film, Difret.
UNICEF reports that Nepal is among the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage — and its location in South Asia places it in the region with the most child marriages in the world. But the Nepalese government and local NGOs have been working together over the past few years to end the practice once and for all.
In Ethiopia, there are deeply embedded traditions dictating that girls marry very young. But there is an effort underway in some of Ethiopia’s rural regions to end child marriage. These efforts, surprisingly, are led by Ethiopian Orthodox priests.