Fighting Forced Child Marriage in Rural Burkina Faso
Forced child marriages (FCM) are a recurring problem in many developing countries, and Burkina Faso is no exception. Despite existing legislation against it, an estimated 23 out of 100 girls between 15 and 19 years old are already married, of which 31% live in rural areas. FCM is deeply rooted in traditional and cultural beliefs.
In Burkina Faso’s Eastern Region, FCM is the second most prevalent child rights violation found by the Ministry of Social Action (2011). In the city of Fada alone, 65 cases were registered.
FCM is a serious violation of young girls’ human rights. It perpetuates existing gender inequalities, and it has been an obstacle to girls’ development and survival.
Between August 2011 and September 2012, CCFC implemented a pilot initiative on the fight against FCM, with the overall objective of significantly reducing (or eliminating completely) the practice of FCM within one of CCFC’s program areas in rural Burkina Faso.
CCFC has been able to successfully increase the knowledge and awareness of leaders, community volunteers and community members on the negative consequences of FCM. Through the intervention of the community volunteers in this project, over 4,000 people received home based visits, and four cases of girls being abducted have been avoided, through dialogue and awareness-raising (the girls have returned home after involvement and negotiation of a community volunteer). By involving local authorities and government institutions from the start of the project, CCFC has been able to increase access to protective services for community members threatened with FCM.
Due to the success of this project, there is great opportunity to use lessons learned to implement future interventions in the area of forced child marriage.
"I continue to fight against forced child marriage. Things have changed a lot since the start of the project. At first, I would travel to visit at risk girls. Now, community members come to me and tell me if a girl is at risk.” – P. Thiombiano – Community Volunteer