Child marriage is an ongoing problem in Zimbabwe. One-third of girls across the country get married before their 18th birthday.
Today, Simon Marijani – an Operation Mobilisation USA partner – explains how the Covid-19 pandemic worsens this problem.
“We are currently in a lockdown, and this is where child marriages also begin to appear,” Marijani says.
“Vulnerable girls are not at school; they’re not playing; they’re [at] home. People who live in crowded situations [find] opportunities to do this (child marriage).”
Ask God to help believers protect young girls from harm. Keep reading to learn why child marriage problems continue and how believers work together to combat them.
As Girls Not Brides describes here, multiple unresolved factors keep child marriage alive and well in Zimbabwe. “The first is poverty,” Marijani says.
“Zimbabwe has been in [an] economic crisis since 2000, and every year seems to [get] worse. Daughters are married off to reduce the economic burden,” he continues.
Education is another contributing factor, with many girls leaving school before they graduate. “Some people consider them to be adults once they drop out of school,” Marijani adds, whether these young women are of legal age or not. Zimbabwe did not raise its age of consent to 18 years old until 2016.
“There’s an indigenous Apostolic Church which encourages girls as young as 10 to marry much older men. They do this because they would like to keep these young girls within their religious circles,” Marijani explains.