News / Africa

    S. Sudan Focuses on Girls' Rights on Day of African Child

    • Children march at the Nyakuron Cultural Center in Juba to mark the Day of the African Child.
    • South Sudanese school children hold a poster during a march in Juba to mark the Day of the African Child.
    • Ending child marriage is the focus of the Day of the African Child in South Sudan, where more than half of girls aged 15-19, like Akuot B., shown here, are married, often against their will.
    • The South Sudan government is poised to roll out a nationwide program to urge parents to keep their daughters in school.
    • Some children in South Sudan have to give up school because their parents expect them to work in cattle camps like this one.
    • A program in Western Equatoria state in South Sudan has succeeded in cutting the school dropout rate among girls by nearly half in one year.
    S. Sudan Focuses on Girls on Day of African Child
    Bonifacio Taban
    As the world marks the International Day of the African Child on Sunday, with a focus on doing away with practices that harm children, officials in South Sudan are driving home the message that the country must end child marriage and allow girls to stay in school.

    "We need to work together so that we can eliminate child marriage," Ministry of General Education official Joy Gordon Soro told a gathering in Juba.

    "Some years ago, there were some girls who were beaten by their parents, because they refused to be married. Another one kill herself because the parents needed her to be married at an early age. Parents, let us not force our children to marry at an early age,” Soro said.

    According to statistics from South Sudan’s Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, nearly half of South Sudanese girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are married, many of them against their will. Girls as young as 12 are married off sometimes, in exchange for a dowry.

    Child marriage is seen by many South Sudanese as "an important way for families to access much-needed resources, such as cattle, money, and other gifts via the traditional practice of transferring wealth through the payment of dowries," a report released in March by Human Rights Watch says.

    "In some communities, women are married for 300 cows. That’s a lot of wealth that you get, maybe, from your daughter," Biel Jock Thich, deputy chair of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, is quoted as saying in the report.
    Parents, don't force your children to marry at an early age.

    Officials are trying to teach parents around South Sudan to let their daughters stay in school, where they can acquire skills that will ultimately allow them to contribute more wealth to the family than a one-off dowry payment of several hundred head of cattle.

    Priscilla Nyayang Joseph, the deputy minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, said at the event in Juba that the government will soon roll out a nationwide campaign to  encourage girls to stay in school, as part of its commitment to end child marriage.

    “You might not see things changing fast, but they going to change for the better and we want you to help," she said.

    In Yambio county in Western Equatoria state, a program to keep girls in school has seen the number of girls who dropped out because of pregnancy and early marriages fall from 184 in 2011 to 102 by the end of the 2012 school year.

    The Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991 to honor the children and adults who were gunned down in Soweto on that day in 1976, as they marched to protest the use of Afrikaans as one of the languages of instruction in schools, and in the riots that swept through the township in the weeks afterwards.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.