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Speaking out against child marriage in Africa

CCFC’s Jeremie Ouangrawa is collaborating with partners in Burkina Faso to bring attention to a national concern

By Patrice Zongo, communications manager, Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — One out of every 10 girls is abducted for child marriage before her 18th birthday in the Eastern Region of Burkina Faso, according to local government statistics. CCFC is among a list of organizations fighting for change.

In February, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) joined with partners to gather more than 2,000 people for a silent march against child marriage. More recently, Jeremie Ouangrawa, CCFC Burkina Faso’s country office director, appeared on a local radio and television talk show addressing the issue. “In addition to the efforts made to eradicate the practice, we should emphasize the fight against ignorance,” he said. “If families were sufficiently aware of the numerous and unbelievable consequences of the practice, I am sure they would step back.”

Case in point: Burkina Faso government statistics show just 22 percent of school girls in the Eastern Region are likely to complete primary school. But the problem is even more widespread. “This phenomenon is more than a girl issue. It has a development stake as it affects one part of the state workforce and everybody must feel concerned,” continued Ouangrawa.

CCFC believes all children and youth have the right to live a life free of violence and exploitation. To find out more, read our latest digital issue of ChildVoice magazine.

Leading change: Jeremie Ouangrawa (top, second from right), Christian Children Fund of Canada’s country director in Burkina Faso, speaks out against child marriage on a local radio and television talk show in the African nation