The world must take action where governments and communities have failed our girls. They deserve to live and not to die in childbirth. They deserve to thrive and live healthy lives. Above all, we must protect these girls so that they live a life free of violence, abuse and stigma and can raise healthy children.
Malawi outlawed child marriage last week. Following more than five years of undaunted advocacy by Malawian girls, their allies and civil society leaders, the country's Parliament tabled and passed the "Marriage, Divorce, and Family Relations Bill," increasing the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years.
Nigeria is Africa's largest economy, and yet tens of thousands of women and children die there each year due to lack of maternity care, preventable disease and poor health infrastructure, among other causes. This series brings a diversity of perspectives from around Nigeria to the table to discuss this critical moment in Nigeria's history and how Nigerians can work together to build a healthy future for all.
From birth, Kadiga Mohammed was set to marry her first and eldest cousin, a traditional practice known as 'absuma' in her community in the Afar Region of Ethiopia. When she turned 16, her parents began to prepare for the wedding. But Kadiga was filled with dread -- she did not want to marry the man they had selected for her.