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FACTBOX - The Elders' initiative to end child marriage

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 10 Oct 2011 00:49 GMT
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NEW YORK (TrustLaw) - The Elders, a group of global leaders dedicated to tackling humanitarian issues, recently launched an initiative called Girls Not Brides to combat the practice of child marriage, which affects some 10 million girls each year, primarily in Asia and Africa.

Here are some key facts about the new global partnership and child marriage:

- The Elders, the Ford Foundation, the Nike Foundation and the NoVo Foundation have committed to building Girls Not Brides into a partnership organization with at least 150 members running programmes in at least 20 countries by 2012.

- Girls Not Brides aims to raise $3 million to finance the partnership and seed activities to end child marriage in key countries.

- Child marriage usually marks the end of a girl’s education and the beginning of a life threatened by early pregnancy and other health risks.

- Girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than women over the age of 20.

- Babies born to teen mothers are 60 percent more likely to die in their first year of life than those born to mothers older than 19.

- Every year approximately 100,000 women and girls develop fistula, a fissure between the vagina and/or the bladder and rectum, often caused by obstructed labour due to an underdeveloped pelvis.  Untreated, the condition results in incontinence and, often, ostracism.

- Source: The Elders

TrustLaw spoke with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and chair of The Elders, about Girls Not Brides. Read the interview here.

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