Africa has had very limited success in achieving six of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, and HIV/AIDS – all of which are issues related to forced marriage.
Efforts such as the African Union’s Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa and Nigeria’s National Strategy to End Child Marriage 2016-2021 are encouraging developments sending a clear political message that such practices must be ended. Yet, it is to be seen if the growing support from African leaders can translate into fundamental, bottom-up change in attitudes toward forced marriage and the status of women.
Our leaders have a great role to play too. Leaders who should discourage forceful and child early marriage are the ones patronising and indulging in such acts.