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Senegal launches African Union campaign to end child marriage

Senegal launches African Union campaign to end child marriage | | Photo credit: Peter A Harrison

On 22 June, Senegal launched the African Union campaign to end child marriage. Nearly 1 in 3 girls in Senegal are married before their 18th birthday and the launch of the campaign is an important step in helping to change that.

The launch was attended by Mariama Sarr, the Minister for Women, Family and Children, and De Fatima Zohra Sebaa-Delladj, the African Union Special Rapporteur on Child Marriage.

Dr Sebaa-Delladj said that ending child marriage ultimately relied on political will, but that civil society had a role to play in holding the government to account for their commitments. She stressed the need to harmonise legislation, involve everyone in this campaign, and put networks in place.

About the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage

Launched in May 2014, the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage aims to speed up change across Africa by encouraging governments to develop strategies to raise awareness of child marriage and address the harmful impact it has.

Specifically, it aims to:

  • Identify the socio-economic impact of child marriage
  • Promote the effective implementation of AU legal and policy instruments and support policy action
  • Remove barriers and bottlenecks to law enforcement
  • Increase the capacity of non-state actors to undertake evidence-based policy advocacy

Originally planned to last for two years, the campaign has now been extended to run until at least 2017. Fourteen countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sudan, The Gambia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe – have launched the campaign so far, with more launches planned for later in the year and during 2017.