Guest Post by: Tumi Frazier, founder of Tumi Frazier International
How will girls reach their full potential and contribute to the future social and economic development of Africa when they are robbed of their education, aspirations, childhood, health and life in many cases? The development of female future leaders is intertwined with the protection of Africa’s daughters. In fact, one of the 2063 aspirations for the African Union (AU) is an Africa whose development is people-driven, that relies on realising the potential and aspirations of African people, especially its women and youth.
"Africa will not rise as long as its daughters are bleeding"
– Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvandi, African Union Goodwill Ambassador for Ending Child Marriage
Child marriage is a global challenge across countries and cultures. Africa can never achieve the AU 2063 goals or the UN Millennium Development goals, including those business goals which relate specifically to the raising of women leaders, if the challenge of Child Marriage is not addressed.
The fact is that girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die during child birth or pregnancy than older women
Nelson Mandela once said that “Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world”, but education as a weapon seems impossible for girls when they are pulled out of school and denied further education and employment opportunities, making it difficult for them to break out of the poverty cycle. Whilst there are significant increases in the enrolment of African girls in primary education, the World Bank data reveals that boys are 1.55 times more likely to complete a secondary education than girls in Africa. Education begins with the awareness of harmful cultural practices that girls are subjected to; and education begins with mothers’ enlightenment and awareness of their right to protect girls.
The fact is that girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die during child birth or pregnancy than older women; in addition, mortality rates for babies born to mothers under 20 are far higher than older mothers. Premature child birth can lead to variety of health problems for mothers including fistula, a debilitating condition that causes chronic incontinence and subsequent abandonment by their husbands, not to mention the likelihood of being ostracized by society.
Ending child marriage in Africa is one of the pressing issues and commitment of the AU. Whilst a number of countries in the sub-Saharan Africa have made progress, there is still a long way to go.
Tumi Frazier is a South African entrepreneur, professional speaker, author, TV personality, consultant, and founder of Tumi Frazier International, Tumi Leadership Academy, and Tumi Foundation. Tumi is an internationally acclaimed Leadership and Change Management expert who has worked with high profile clients and organizations across Africa, United States and Europe. Tumi has authored 4 books: Courageous Stories of Inspiration; In the Midst of the Storm; Stepping Stones to Success; and Your Moment. Follow Tumi Twitter | LinkedIn
Read more articles by Tumi Frazier