Project #162 | Early Marriage Prevention in Afghanistan
Our partnership with Sahar
According to the UN Population Fund, nearly 57% of girls in Afghanistan are married before the legal age of 16. Cultural groups in the Balkh Province participate in the customs of early marriage for various reasons: bride prices, bringing money into poverty-stricken families, bride exchange, child engagement, and “honor” situations. All of these practices contribute to girls dropping out before finishing secondary school. Afghan girls and their families are demanding greater access to education in their war-torn country. Since the removal of the Taliban, millions of children have entered the school system, many for the very first time. As the system is slowly rebuilt, there are still large gaps and girls are still substantially under-represented among the students in the Afghanistan education system.
Our partnership with Sahar Education supported their Early Marriage Prevention program, which worked to increase knowledge and awareness of early marriage and to change attitudes and perceptions about the practice for students, families, local elders, school principals, and religious leaders. This program encouraged students to communicate with their parents about the issue of early marriage, empowered them through leadership and self-esteem training to stand up for their legal rights, and introduced them to female role models who can inspire their future goals. The ultimate goal is to decrease the instances of student dropouts due to early marriage and learn the most effective interventions for preventing early marriage dropouts.
Our collective impact
Girls Receiving Early Marriage Prevention
Community Members Indirectly Impacted
Naseema is 19-years-old and in the 11th grade at Qary Fateullah High School. Early Marriage Prevention Program (EMPP) students at Qary Fateullah, including Naseema, were surprised to learn that mental health could impact physical health. Upon learning more about depression and anxiety spread the word to her friends at break and to her family at home. “In mental health sessions we learned 10 signs of depression and if someone has 2-5 signs for two weeks or more, then that person is depressed or has depression. When I learned it then I went home and explained to my family…” Naseema’s attendance was great: she always showed up to classes early. Learning new and inspirational things really made her happy. “One of my best and most interesting memories in this class is yoga exercise, because it relaxes you and also relaxes your mind. I wish to do such exercises everyday.” Naseema now does yoga with her siblings, something that gives her joy. Together, they encourage her mother to join as well.
Thank you for making this possible!
Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.
If you want to support future projects like this you can make a donation to our girls empowerment fund.