Nazari Maizurfi

Raising Community Voices against Child Marriage

 

Child marriage affects and violates the rights of women and girls. There is an unfounded belief that when a girl is married off early, she does not have the opportunity to become promiscuous. This places a heavy societal burden on young girls and the reality is different as most of these girls have to abandon their education in order to tend to their new families. 

 

The health implications of child marriage are vast ranging from early pregnancies which often at times results in Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) or Rector Vaginal obstetric fistula, as these young girls are giving birth at a very tender age when their bodies are not physically able to deliver a fetus. They are also at a higher risk of contracting so many sexually transmitted diseases.

 

It is unarguable that young Nigerians with internet access have increasingly turned to podcasts in recent years for programming focused on issues they care about, podcasts have become a new dimension to getting daily news as well as offering interesting debates regarding a myriad of issues. Hence, Bridge Connect Africa Initiative (BCAI) with the support from the USAID-funded Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Population and Reproductive Health (PACE) project, will be hosting a podcast series that is aimed at raising community voices against child marriage. 

 

The podcast series will consist of 10 episodes, of which each episode is mapped to spark debates about child marriage and stimulate community support against child marriage in Nigeria. Survivals will also be given an opportunity to share their stories and experiences as a child bride, this will, in turn, inspire informed choices amongst communities where child marriage is widely practiced.

 

The podcast series will be broadcasted through community-based radio stations such as Freedom Radio in Kano, BRC2 in Jigawa, and Globe FM in Bauchi. It will be made available over the internet, Podcast publishing channels such as Spotify and Audiomack. And it will also be uploaded across BCAI social media channels.

 

In rural communities, where access to radio and the internet is difficult, BCAI will provide portable speakers with memory card slots, convening small groups to listen together, a listening hub will be established in each state in order to promote intergenerational dialogue on child marriage.