The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has spent $7 million over the last seven years to end the practice of child marriage in the West African nation of Burkina Faso. Despite the use of such resources and the fact that the legal age of marriage for girls is 16, the practice of marrying girls younger than the legal age is still regularly found in that country. Recently, UNFPA has joined with the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Population Advisory Council of Burkina Faso to implement a new two-year program to combat the practice.
The new $1.6 million program will involve peer education, where young married girls will counsel other young girls. Community leaders will also be recruited to openly denounce child marriage. In addition, job training and health services will be offered to improve the security of married and unmarried girls. The program also acknowledges that education of young girls can decrease the chance of a child marriage and protect girls from abuse. To further the goal of keeping girls in school, families can receive scholarships to pay for books, supplies, fees and bikes for transportation.
Compiled from: Johnson, Constance, U.N. Program to Fight Child Marriage, Library of Congress – Global Legal Monitor, 6 April 2009.