To end child marriage, invest in a skilled ‘GirlForce’ says Sahar on International Day of the Girl.
As the world celebrates International Day of the Girl on 11 October, Sahar is calling for greater investments to improve girls’ education, skills, and job prospects in Afghanistan. We stress the importance of creating opportunities and safe spaces for girls’ voices to be heard and listened to in decisions that affect them.
Ginna Brelsford, executive director of Sahar, says that more attention needs to be given in girls’ education to providing job-relevant skills and training to enable them to participate in the workforce and to move from dreaming to achieving a better future.
Educating girls represents real economic gains. For those girls who are able to continue through to graduation from high school, opportunities for employment and earning power increase. One extra year of secondary school increases a girl’s future wages by up to 25 percent. If a girl receives seven or more years of education she will marry four years later and have 2.2 fewer children, according to the UN Population Fund,” Brelsford said.
Every year, 12 million girls are married globally before the age of 18, depriving them of their rights to education, health and a life of their choosing. 876,00 of these girls are Afghan.
Evidence shows that girls who attend secondary school are three times less likely to be child brides.
They also have better economic prospects, fewer and healthier children, and are more likely to ensure that their own children are not married before 18.
Rachel Yates, Interim Executive Director of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, which comprises of over 1300 civil society organizations, said: “Investing in efforts to end child marriage isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also smart economics. When girls are educated instead of being married young, and have opportunities to earn an income, they are more likely to lead happier, healthier lives, and to contribute to the growth and development of their communities. Ending child marriage has to be a critical part of creating a ‘GirlForce’ of empowered girls who are able to reach their full potential, whilst ensuring we meet our global development goals.”
Under the theme, “GirlForce: Unscripted and unstoppable”, International Day of the Girl will highlight how with the right skills and support, girls can break barriers and build a better world for themselves and future generations. To mark the day, Sahar is highlighting the story of Halima, a graduate of the Early Marriage Prevention Program.
“Let’s say I want to be a journalist in future. To fulfill this dream, I need to have access to a lot of resources. I will need access to the internet and communications skills that I learn in this school. The Boarding school [Sahar is building] will help provide facilities that help us achieve our dreams and build our personalities.”
Sahar is a member of Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of more than 1300 civil society organizations from over 100 countries committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential. For more information visit www.girlsnotbrides.org