Child marriage in Senegal
In my country, Senegal, especially in the region of Tambacounda, the phenomenon of child marriage still persists.
After some investigation and experience, I know clearly what the problem is and where it comes from. I can cite the traditions, customs, poverty and laws.
Maïmouna is a 16 year old girl, learning in 3rd secundary grade. Her father wanted to give her in marriage to a man who came from France, a rich "modou_modou", who is almost the same age as her father without thinking about the consequences.
At first, some family members negotiated with the father, especially her uncle, for Maïmouna to finish her studies, with no succes.
We did not go to justice, because there is no harmonization of laws in Senegal between the child's protection code and that of the family. Childprotection provides rights to any individual aged from 0 to 18 years old and the code of the family authorizes the marriage from 16 years old.
And Maïmouna left school for a married life.
Maïmouna lives in very difficult conditions, because her husband does not care any more about her. It is her uncle who is obliged to intervene with her husband. The father does not dare because the amount asked for the dowry was enormous. Then, he knows what awaits him, if he said something (paying back).
To put an end to this scourge, Associations for childprotection in Senegal, fight for the adoption of the code of the child. They do it with together with the children so that a quick and understandable transmission is done with their peers. They sensitize the parents and all concerned actors. They carry the advocacy at the level of the competent authorities like the CDPE (advisory council and Departmental for the Protection of the Child).
They have created a grand coalition at the national level to deal with the various challenges that children go through.