A major summit on ending child and early forced marriage in Mozambique has been held by the UK’s Department for International Development.
Mozambique has one of the highest rates of child and early forced marriage (CEFM) in the world, with around 1 in 2 girls married before their 18th birthday. There’s growing recognition of the problem in the country, which until recently has been under acknowledged.
The summit, hosted by DFID Mozambique and International Development Minster Lynne Featherstone, brought together the Mozambican government, the African Union, civil society, private sector and donors for the first time to pledge to ‘break the silence’ on CEFM and start to take action.
The event forms part of the UK government’s overall commitment to do more to tackle CEFM, which will include an international summit on the issue hosted by the Prime Minister in London in July.
International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said:
When a girl is forced into marriage doors are closed and her world shrinks. She becomes more vulnerable, is more likely to suffer domestic violence, sexual abuse and to stay living in poverty.
Local action is vital if we are to see an end to this practice on a global scale. The commitments achieved at this summit by key community members, are an important step in bringing an end to child and early forced marriage in Mozambique.
The summit also forms part of DFID Mozambique’s work to increase its support for girls. This is in response to increasing and disproportionate numbers of women falling into poverty.