Children of the DRC, Tell Us Your Thoughts on Early Marriage

The 2014 Girl Summit will take place in London on July 22 and we will be there to represent the DRC. Send us your answers before the 20th and let your voice be heard at the summit!

The situation of girls in the DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo has a total area of 2.345 million km2 and is divided into 11 provinces. It is also full of young girls and boys, who are the key to a more prosperous future for the Republic.

In the DRC, there are harmful practices that prevent a large number of youths from developing intellectually, in the areas of education and health, for example. Such is the case with child marriage, which forces numerous young girls to marry before the age of 18.

However, the Law on Child Protection, along with other international legal instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of a Child, strictly prohibit children, that is to say persons under the age of 18 from getting married.

The extent of this practice is so large that the country is ranked 142 out of 146 countries in the Global Gender Equality Index due to the way its system works against girls and women. The MICS survey showed that almost 1 in 2 girls are married before they reach 18 (45% of women 20-49 years old).

The new statistics of the Demographic Health Survey (EDS) show that the number of girls being married before they are 15 is higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

Girls are just as important to the future of this country as boys: “Educate a girl and you educate a nation“. Let’s join forces to win the battle for gender equality between girls and boys, for children and adults.

Tell us what you think

In preparation for the Girls Summit in London, we, Nathan and Merveille, Young Reporters in Kinshasa, have a few questions we would like to ask the children of the country’s provinces:

  1. In your opinion, what promotes the practice of child marriage in your province?
  2. What needs to be done to end it?
  3. In your opinion, why, in the DRC, are there more girls being married before the age of 15 in rural areas than in urban areas?

 

 

Photo: UNICEF RDC 2013 Pudlowski

Translated from French by Gail Somers

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Merveille

Merveille a 17 ans et elle étudie en première année à l’Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de la Gombe à Kinshasa. Après plusieurs années d'expériences d’enfant reporter, Merveille s'est lancée dans des études d'histoire, sciences sociales et gestion politique. Son but est de défendre les droits de ses pairs et de venir en aide. Selon elle, “il ne faut pas se limiter au rôle d’enfant reporter mais poursuivre cet engagement pour les enfants dans la vie d’adulte”.

Merveille is 17 years old and is in her first year of university in Kinshasa. After a few years of experience as Child Reporter, Merveille has decided to study History, Social Sciences and Political Management. Her goal is to defend her peers' rights and help. Merveille believes: ‘One must not restrict oneself to the role of being a child reporter, but continue this commitment for children into adult life.’

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