African Press Association

Uneducated girls risk pregnancy, illegal marriage

from MACOUMBA BEYE in Dakar, Senegal
DAKAR, (CAJ News) – MORE than 400 million girls, especially in Africa, will fail to attend secondary school by 2030 if governments do not make funding the education of female children a top priority.

The girls risk premature pregnancies and child marriage.

This is the warning of children’s rights organisations ahead of world leaders meeting in Senegal for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference this week.

Held every four years, the conference is set for Thursday and Friday in the capital Dakar, co-hosted by French President, Emmanuel Macron, and Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall.

“Despite enormous progress in improving girls’ access to education in the last 20 years, the state of girls’ education today is still woeful in many countries,” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Chief Executive Officer of Plan International.

The organisation urged governments to commit either a fifth of their overall budget, or 6 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP), to education, at least half of which should go towards providing 12 years of
basic education for every child.

Research indicates that countries which allocate low amounts to education often have high rates of child marriage and teenage pregnancy.

In Uganda, which allocates just 3 percent of GDP to education, four in ten girls are wed turning 18.

Less than one in three girls in Sub-Saharan Africa are enrolled in secondary school.

“Several African countries already allocate funds to education at or above recommended percentages but girls’ needs are not being met,” said  Yona Nestel, Senior Education Policy Advisor at Plan International.
– CAJ News