Walsh says that the Girl Child international Day remains a concern as girls in South Sudan must attain the right to survive, be protected and enjoy the benefits of a quality basic education.
“The people of South Sudan will be the first to acknowledge that, even before the onset of conflict in December 2013, their communities had deep-seated socio-cultural practices that place enormous constraints on the ability of the girl child to realize her full potential,” Walsh added.
The statement added that it is public knowledge that the overwhelming motivation for parents to push their daughters into early marriage is the prospect of getting dowry in the form of cash and cows.
“As Save the Children, we have been consistent in urging parents across the length and breadth of South Sudan to be brave and resist the urge to treat their daughters as exchangeable property. Of course, with early marriage comes the possibility of early pregnancy – and we all know that there is ample clinical evidence in the public domain to show that girls whose bodies are not mature enough for child birth can suffer irreversible physical and psychological harm, even death.”
This year, as South Sudan joined the rest of the world to commemorate the fourth annual International Day of the Girl Child, on 11 October, joint global efforts are being made to ensure a world free of discrimination for young women and girls.
This year’s theme focuses on adolescent girls and the Sustainable Development Goals, which set a range of international targets, including on gender equality, to be achieved by 2030.
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