UNICEF / COVID-19 CHILD MARRIAGE

07-Mar-2021 00:01:07
Ten million additional child marriages may occur before the end of the decade, threatening years of progress in reducing the practice, according to a new analysis released by UNICEF. UNICEF
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STORY: UNICEF / COVID-19 CHILD MARRIAGE
TRT: 1:07
SOURCE: UNICEF
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNICEF ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: FRENCH /ROHINGYA /NATS

DATELINE: FILE
SHOTLIST
19 APRIL 2018, HAKIMPARA REFUGEE CAMP, BANGLADESH

1.Various shots, Sonjida, 15, cleaning around tent
2.Various shots, Sonjida
3.SOUNDBITE (Rohingya) Sonjida, fifteen-year-old bride:
“A month after I got here, we got married.”
4.Med shot, Sonjida 15, with her housband
5.SOUNDBITE Rohingya) Sonjida, fifteen-year-old bride:
“We didn’t have much money, and the girl’s family usually has to give the groom’s family a dowry, so who else would have married me?”

25 SEPTEMBER 2019, BERTOUA, CAMEROON

6.Wide shot, Solange, at home with her child
7.SOUNDBITE (French) Solange, seventeen-year-old mother:
“I didn’t want to get married. I wanted first to go to school.”
8.SOUNDBITE (French) seventeen-year-old mother:
“I want my daughter Anne Martha to go to school so she can have a good education.”
9. Close up, Solange, at home, holding her child
STORYLINE
Ten million additional child marriages may occur before the end of the decade, threatening years of progress in reducing the practice, according to a new analysis released by UNICEF today.

A report named COVID-19: A threat to progress against child marriage – released on International Women’s Day (8 Mar) – warns that school closures, economic stress, service disruptions, pregnancy, and parental deaths due to the pandemic are putting the most vulnerable girls at increased risk of child marriage.

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, 100 million girls were at risk of child marriage in the next decade, despite significant reductions in several countries in recent years. In the last ten years, the proportion of young women globally who were married as children had decreased by 15 per cent, from nearly 1 in 4 to 1 in 5, the equivalent of some 25 million marriages averted, a gain that is now under threat.

Girls who marry in childhood face immediate and lifelong consequences. They are more likely to experience domestic violence and less likely to remain in school. Child marriage increases the risk of early and unplanned pregnancy, in turn increasing the risk of maternal complications and mortality. The practice can also isolate girls from family and friends and exclude them from participating in their communities, taking a heavy toll on their mental health and well-being.

COVID-19 is profoundly affecting the lives of girls. Pandemic-related travel restrictions and physical distancing make it difficult for girls to access the health care, social services and community support that protect them from child marriage, unwanted pregnancy and gender-based violence. As schools remain closed, girls are more likely to drop out of education and not return. Job losses and increased economic insecurity may also force families to marry their daughters to ease financial burdens.

Worldwide, an estimated 650 million girls and women alive today were married in childhood, with about half of those occurring in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India and Nigeria. To off-set the impacts of COVID-19 and end the practice by 2030 – the target set out in the Sustainable Development Goals – progress must be significantly accelerated.
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