Kalela Woreda Justice Sector’s Triumph over Child Marriage

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 Eleven individuals in South Wollo Zone, kelala Woreda of Amhara regional State were accused and charged for arranging child marriage in 2017. These people were Mothers, fathers, brothers, religious leaders, “husband”, and elders to the victims.

Two of the offenders were imprisoned for a year and the rest were fined to pay up to 2000 Ethiopian Birr for the action committed on the victims.  

In March 2015 Justice for All-Prison fellowship Ethiopia had awareness raising campaign in Amhara Regional State on consequences of FGM and Child Marriage. After the campaign, anti-FGM and Child Marriage prevention task force was established.  The task force mainly includes judges, police, public prosecutors and other stakeholders’ office’s representatives and community leaders.

With the support of USAID, Amhara justice sectors were sensitized on negative impacts of child marriage. Additionally, various trainings were given to strengthen legal awareness, investigation and addressing the role of justice sectors.

The effects of early marriage are devastating. Victims are suffering from major physical, emotional, economic and social outcome. Early married girls are highly vulnerable to gender based violence, high fertility, marital instabilities and reproductive health-related complications like obstructed labor and obstetric fistula.

The World Health Organization reports that in addition to dramatically reducing their likelihood of getting an education, girls in early marriages are more susceptible to complications or death from pregnancy and childbirth.

There is still a lot to be done especially creating awareness in the society.  For this, working closely with the community is essential. Many families do not initially understand the negative impacts of child marriage. It takes grassroots, peer-to-peer education to change minds. That is why JFA-PFE is working hard to create awareness through campaigns, trainings, community conversations and the like.