Eleven is a number, it is written as ‘11’ and its basically just writing ‘1’ twice but lets stop there before I give you the whole etymology behind the word ‘eleven’. You must be wondering why I’m so interested in the number but it is necessary concerning child marriages.
The United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women released a report yesterday where Nigeria ranked ‘11’. I don’t really need to spell out the entire list of 20 countries that made the list. All I would just say is that it the list spelt out one name, Africa. Having more than ‘11’ countries in the list, Africa seems to be the home of child marriages.
Surprised? I can tell you that I am surprised and I am not at the same time reason being that I wonder how such a menace still finds its way to operate in this 21st century where civilization and technology are highlights. And then I’m not surprised because we have had cases of this in the past and whether it is ignorance or just care-free attitude from people, the issue is getting out of hand.
At this point, I think child marriages needs no introduction. It is just a case where young innocent girls, leaders for the future, are given out to matured men to marry. I mean, who still does that? Ranking number ‘11’ is not really the reason for my anger but rather that it still happens in the country and we even made such a list.
They say poverty is the root of all evils. What else will let a father give out his little innocent daughter to a matured man? And who is that ignorant man that will still want a little girl. Many families are forced into this crazy dilemma because of lack of money but is it necessary? After all, the money will be spent for just a short time and it won’t even last till eternity. We all know how hard the country can be but it doesn’t get that bad. Please!
Lets not pin down the causes to just poverty. It seems whenever enlightenment about child marriages are carried out, it doesn’t reach the right place. Looking at the age and era we are now, I would’ve argued that child marriages have been reduced to the barest minimum.
Its either the information is not getting where it should or people aren’t ready to be enlightened or they are not ready to take heed and do the right thing.
I wonder I wonder o. Lets take it this way, someone comes to me to educate me about not giving my precious
daughter to an Old man and I’ll disagree? Will you disagree?
From the religious perspective, as far as I know, no holy book or religion said when you marry, it can be a small innocent girl. I mean, there has to be mutual understanding. I love you, you love me, yeah we can get married as long as we are both mature not just a one-sided thing. I don’t need to be a ritualist to know that it would also be an abomination from that end too.
The results of child marriages are not far fetched but what are the solution? The following are drawn out solutions that can get this menace off our societies.
1. Educate the girl child. They need it as much as the boys do.
2. Let information circulate well. Enlightenment should cut across all areas. It seems to me like its not getting to where it should.
3. Empower the girl child. Develop empowerment programmes that would improve the girl child’s sense of self and also informing them about their rights and ability to refuse.
4. Poverty alleviation programmes. The parents need this a lot.
5. Be involved. It won’t stop until we individually interfere. Lets take this cases like ours and take Nigeria like our property and stop people from damaging its image.
6. Religious leaders should dive in. include it in your sermons and let it ring bells every time in their ears.
7. Laws should be made. It is very necessary in stopping it.
8. Bodies in charge should take responsibility. Acknowledge it is a bad thing and mistake on your part and make amends rather than deny any UN report that is released and call it misleading.
9. Advocate for women in public offices. It will give the parents reason to believe in the girl child.
10. NGO’s should double-up and people should give their supports to these organizations.
11. Sponsor a girl child. Wherever you are, there might be a little girl in need of help that you know the parent can’t afford. Offer help with the little you have in goodwill or get people who can help. Be a reason why a girl child does not have to go through such trauma.
Child marriages is a huge concern if it can still be happening now and if we don’t get rid of it now, we’ll be denting/salvaging the future and right of other young girls to live their life by the best means necessary. If the government won’t take action swiftly, lets start from somewhere. Lets save 11 with 11. Have a nice day!