By Leovigildo Nhampule; Katie Hackett
In Mozambique, early marriage, where girls marry before age 18, is among the highest in the world.
When girls marry young, they drop out of school and are far more likely to face extreme poverty, but World Vision is working in communities like A Hi Kulene to see girls stay in school. By equipping them with the means to provide for themselves and the confidence to make financial decisions, the next generation of mothers will be more educated and prepared to lead their families.
“Economic issues are the main reasons behind gender differences,” says World Vision staff Adelaide Ganhane. “In the community, we still have parents who think that when their children turn 13 or 14, they are ready to get married.”
Tradition dictates that the groom’s family pays a dowry to the bride’s family, so when finances are difficult, parents can be swayed to give their daughters in marriage before it’s healthy for them.
By teaching girls valuable life skills, and helping parents to increase their own income, girls will be empowered to continue their schooling.
“One of the challenges we face when it comes to promoting gender equality, is the low level of literacy of women in rural areas,” Adelaide adds.
As girls achieve higher levels of education in A Hi Kulene, their position in the community will grow. And with the knowledge to earn money and make financial decisions, early marriage will continue to decrease.
Adelaide is optimistic, especially when she sees how women are succeeding in more urban parts of the country. For example, Mozambique has been listed as the Portugese-speaking country with the most female members of parliament.
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