The #SpeakUp Youth Video Project was launched by the Population Reference Bureau to provide quality and credible sexual and reproductive health information through videos to young people. Our #SpeakUp video addressing child marriage in Northern Nigeria was supported and screened by PRB to attend the 2018 International Conference for Family Planning in Kigali, Rwanda. After the launch of the “SpeakUp” video on 2nd December, 2018, it reached a global audience of over 31,000 people online since its release on various social media platforms promoting conversations to address early and forced marriages in Northern Nigeria. We were able to reach over 2000 adolescent girls, women and young people in Kano with same message addressing the consequences of child marriage.
The video shares the story of a survivor whose story inspired renewed action against child marriage by many youths in the region. After its release, it sparked peaceful and creative conversations against the problem. The video was shot in a rural community in Tofa local government area, Kano state.
Child marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights. It is closely associated with no or low levels of schooling for girls. Poverty leads many families to withdraw their daughters from school and arrange marriage for them at a young age. These girls are denied the proven benefits of education, which include improved health, lower fertility, and increased economic productivity. Child marriage, in many instances, marks an abrupt transition into sexual relations with a husband who is considerably older and unchosen. Parents frequently arrange marriages for their daughters without their input or consent.
In 2015, an estimated 6 million girls were married by age 15 and 36 million girls were married by age 18 nationwide. Child marriage is more prevalent in the Northwest and Northeast regions, where 48 percent of girls were married by age 15 and 78 percent were married by age 18. Northern Nigeria has some of the highest rates of child marriage in the world with an estimated 65% among children below the age of 18 years (National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nigeria 2016-2021 (2015), Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development).