Working to End Child Marriage

Kids Club Kampala is proud to be a member of the Girls not Brides campaign, The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

This blog post is written by Sam, the Ugandan Director of Kids Club Kampala, and explains the work that KCK is doing to support the Girls not Brides campaign to End Child Marriage. As part of this, Kids Club Kampala has launched‘Kaleke Kasome, Kaleke Kakule’; 'Let her study, let her grow' campaign.

Girls in Uganda are viewed as the weaker sex and are often not allowed to decide for themselves when or who they marry. Girls are also viewed as an income or source of wealth for poor families, and they end up being subjected to early marriages to benefit their families through receiving dowry payments.

It’s estimated that about 54.1% of girls in Uganda are pre-maturely married off, and although the definition of child marriage includes boys, most children married under the age of 18 years are girls.

The UN convention on children’s rights article 39 clearly says ‘children have the right to be helped if hurt, neglected or badly treated’. At Kids Club Kampala, we stand against and highly condemn early child marriages for both boys and girls.

Child brides are more likely than unmarried girls to die younger, suffer from health problems, live in poverty and remain illiterate. Girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die during child birth or pregnancy than older women. Mortality rates for babies born to mothers under age 20 are almost 75% higher than for children born to older mothers. The children that survive are more likely to be premature, have a low birth weight, and are more at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS.

When Rita, a twelve year old girl was asked as to why some of her friends married so early and did not finish school, she had these reasons to give;
"When you reach a certain height and weight, parents will stop buying things like knickers and cosmetics for you, meaning now you have to get these things by yourself. Since you don't work, you are forced to receive these things from men. You are also indirectly expected by the mothers to bring in some food and good jewellery into the home and all these of course from men." 

Rita is lucky that at twelve years old, her future is not going to be an early marriage. She is being sponsored to go to school through Kids Club Kampala, so her future is is bright as she has the opportunity to receive a good education.

Ndagire Sarah is a member of Mukisa women's group at Katanga KCK centre. Talking to KCK, she explained how she was forced to marry early in order to take care of her family after both her parents had died and she was the elder sister of two. Now a mother of four kids and a member of KCK Mukisa women’s group, she approached Kids Club Kampala for assistance as she still wants to go back to school and continue her education that she missed out on due to her early marriage.

Girls with a secondary education are up to six times less likely to marry young compared to girls with little or no education. Kids Club Kampala is working to prevent child marriage by supporting young girls through education and also through providing for their basic needs. Through this, we are providing girls with an alternative to early marriage, and giving them the hope for a bright future, where all their potential can be reached. In addition to this, we are working with our Women's Groups to empower women who have been subjected to early marriage and are now struggling to provide for their families, by helping them to gain vocational skills and a sustainable source of income for their families.

For more information about the Girls not Brides campaign and how to get involved, please visit their website, www.girlsnotbrides.org. For more information about how Kids Club Kampala is helping to combat Child Marriage, please contact us at info@kidsclubkampala.org.

Thank you.