This article was last updated on May 28, 2022
By Jok P Mayom
JUBA, 11 October 2016 [Gurtong]-As South Sudan joins the world in marking the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ Save the Children calls on governments and donors to invest in girls’ education and life chances, to help bring an end to child marriage and gender discrimination.
“The government of South Sudan has committed to protect children from harm including child marriage by enacting the Child Act, 2008 and for ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. We call on government to implement laws that protect children and
promote rights of girls to education, protection, survival and development” says Save the Children.
Globally, one girl under 15 is married every seven seconds, according to a new analysis by Save the Children that reveals the scale of the threat posed by child marriage to education, health and children’s safety.
“Child marriage starts a cycle of disadvantage that denies girls the most basic rights to learn, develop and be children,” said Peter Walsh, Country Director Save the Children South Sudan.
Today, South Sudan joins the world in marking the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ under the theme that 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.
Save The Children says, as South Sudan mark the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’, it presents them with the opportunity to launch their campaign ‘Every Last Child’ with a national theme “Girls are Children.”
“Our campaign aims to build a critical mass – a movement of millions that will help us influence decision makers to institute policy and legal reforms, to remove the socio-cultural, economic, and political barriers that stop girls from enjoying their fundamental rights, and realizing their full potential” says Save the children South Sudan.
“Girls who marry too early often can’t attend school, and are more likely to face domestic violence, abuse and rape. They fall pregnant and are exposed to Sexually Transmitted Infections including HIV. They also bear children before their bodies are fully prepared, which can
have devastating consequences on their and their baby’s health.” Says Walsh
According to Save the Children, only 35.4% of girls are enrolled at primary school level and a shocking 1.9% at secondary level. 7.3% of girls are married before 15 years. Only 80 out of 400 members of National Legislative Assembly are females in South Sudan.
Save the Children runs a range of programmes that support the most disadvantaged girls across South Sudan. It is calling on governments and donors to invest in girls’ education and life chances, to help bring an end to child marriage and gender discrimination.