Nigeria has one of the highest rates of early marriage in the world - 39% of girls are married before their 18th birthday and 16% are married before their 15th birthday. This is why Save the Children is campaigning for girl forced into early marriage.
During the campaign launch event in Nigeria, government representatives, religious leaders and celebrities came together to discuss the consequences of early marriage in the development of the children. There is a correlation between lack of education and early marriage: 82% of women aged 20-24 with no education were married by the age of 18 as opposed to 13% of women who have at least finished secondary education.
Ben Foot, country director for Save the Children Nigeria, said “Despite progress for children in Nigeria and across the globe, we have actually left behind millions of children who are not benefiting from education, health care and protection.” It is especially important to invest in excluded children in a country like Nigeria, where half part of the population are children.
Janti Soeripto, Deputy CEO of Save the Children International, urged the media, government, and civil society to work together to tackle the causes of exclusion in Nigeria to reach every last child.
The event ended with a performance led by children from Government Secondary School Gwagwalada. They asked the government, media, religious leaders and other stakeholders to join hands and work together to ensure that the most excluded children have access to healthcare, education and protection they need to progress and fulfil their potential.