Too Young to Wed, a non-profit organization, that employs visual media, photography exhibits and campaigns to educate and engage the global community to demand an end to the practice of child marriage, has launched a new Girls’ Empowerment Campaign in rural Ethiopia. I wrote at length about Too Young to Wed in a must-read post last week and wanted to introduce their new campaign today in honor of Giving Tuesday (Giving Tuesday is a day that asks people to consider giving back to their favorite charities and always falls on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the United States).
By partnering with local nonprofits, Too Young to Wed supports income-generating projects, literacy classes and girl engagement groups where the girls in their stories live. One such project is in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, a place that I actually had the pleasure of visiting myself this past June as a fellow with the International Reporting Project.
Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is estimated that around 80-90% of Ethiopia’s population live in rural, remote regions and over 30% of the population lives under the international poverty line of $1.25 per day (1) and the majority live under $2 a day. Child and maternal mortality health rates are falling yet still remain quite high, while life expectancy and education rates are low.
The status of women is also low and Ethiopia has one of the most severe crises of child marriage in the world today. Although the legal age of marriage is 18 for both males and females it is widely ignored.