Advocates Call for Action to End Child Marriage at US-Africa Summit

Article Date

01 August 2014

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

As President Obama opens the first U.S.-Africa Summit, Girls Not Brides USA, Human Rights Watch, the International Center for Research on Women and the International Women’s Health Coalition will host a special event Tuesday, August 5, calling on leaders to end child, early and forced marriage (CEFM).

The August 4-6 Summit held in Washington, DC, will be the largest event that any U.S. President has held with African heads of state. The Summit aims to strengthen ties between U.S. and Africa.

The Summit’s theme, unlocking opportunities for and investing in the next generation, sets the stage to address a key element that will ensure success in this area – an end to CEFM – both a human rights abuse and a severe challenge to global development efforts to end poverty.

On the sidelines of this unprecedented White House Summit, experts and advocates will host a panel on CEFM, with first-hand testimony from activists from the continent and remarks by the Goodwill Ambassador for the African Union’s campaign to end child marriage, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda. Panelists will explore root causes of the practice as well as prevention programs that have proven to be successful.

The panel will open with remarks by the President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, Kathy Calvin. Panelists include: Dorothy Aken’Ova, Executive Director, International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights (INCRESE), Nigeria; Amanda Klasing, Women’s Rights Researcher, Human Rights Watch; Allison Glinski, Gender and Development Specialist, International Center for Research on Women; Oyindamola Oluwaseun Fagbenle OyinLegal Practitioner and Women’s Rights Advocate, Nigeria; and Behailu Teklehaimanot Weldeyohannes, Law Professor and Vice-Director of the Legal Aid Center, Jimma University, Ethiopia. The panel will be moderated by Milkah Kihunah, Senior Policy Adviser at CARE and representative from Girls Not Brides USA. Closing remarks will be given by Girl Up Teen Advisor, Gloria Samen.

ICRW’s Allison Glinski, Gender and Development Specialist, will discuss ICRW’s report summarizing a review of child marriage prevention programs that have documented evaluations. Glinski will also present ICRW’s recent policy brief that highlights five evidence-based strategies identified by ICRW to delay or prevent child marriage.

The event will be at held at 2:30PM at the United Nations Foundation in Washington, DC. RSVP to Kaitlyn Burton at [email protected]. Space is limited.

Photo on the homepage: A young, unmarried girl stands amid a herd of cattle outside Bor, the capital of Jonglei State. Cattle carry significant social, economic, and cultural importance for South Sudan’s pastoralist ethnic groups, which use cows for the payment of dowry – a key driver of child marriage. Bor, Jonglei State, February 2013.