Celebs fight child marriages

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Soccer star Marvelous Nakamba has teamed up with UNICEF goodwill ambassador Tendai Mtawarira and musician Selmor Mtukudzi to fight child marriages. 

The fight comes amid a surge in child marriages, especially among the Mapostori sect. 

The trio this week pledged to promote the role of women in society and to end child marriage. 

Nakamba, Mtawarira and Mtukudzi were made role models at a press event convened by United Nations Representatives and the government of Zimbabwe in Harare this week. 

The Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprises Jennifer Mhlanga said the government has crafted laws that protect young girls from child marriages.

“I’m happy that on May  27, 2022 the President of Zimbabwe  (Emmerson Mnangagwa) signed into law the Marriages Act that prohibits the marriage of minors under the age of 18,” Mhlanga said. 

She  said child marriage has a devastating impact on the lives of girls.

It disrupts childhood and deprives girls of their right to be a child. 

It often leads to school drop-out, disallowing girls to develop their full potential and to early pregnancies when a girl is not mentally and physically ready to birth or take care of a young child, Mhlanga said.

She said child marriages deprive girls of their rights to acquire appropriate skills to enter the labour force as adults, pushing them further into poverty.

Child marriage also increases the risk of domestic violence, psychological and physical violence, including sexual violence, and HIV-infections. 

United Nations resident coordinator, Edward Kallon said: “A number of UN  initiatives including the Spotlight Initiative continue to champion the prevention of child marriages in the country.”  

UNICEF country representative Tajudeen Oyewale  said he was grateful to the partners who responded to their invitation to join hands to increase public awareness on the high  rate of girls being married before 18, and to call on everybody to act against child marriage.

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