AWLN Member Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda has been appointed as the African Union Goodwill Ambassador for Ending Child Marriage. We commend her hard work towards improving the lives of young girls. She shared her experience with AWLN:
God does not only call those who are equipped to serve, but equips those who are called to serve! This was my first feeling when I received the official invitation from the African Union to serve as Goodwill Ambassador for Ending Child Marriage. I whispered to myself, I will give it my best, for I am not alone. I am surrounded by friends, supporters, and people committed to a different narrative for our girls in this lifetime. The YWCA movement is at the forefront of this campaign, as well as many other organisations such as Girls Not Brides and our own Rozaria Memorial Trust.
Tomorrow the African Union is launching the multi-year campaign to end child marriage, and will be making the official announcement on my role as Goodwill Ambassador. I pray for wisdom, and I seek you support. I genuinely believe we can end child marriage within a single generation. its about young Zeinab from Niger who spoke today in the AU townhall meeting, its about Miriam from Zambia, Mereso from Tanzania and its about my own mother Rozaria. it is about the intersection of extreme household poverty, patriarchal attitudes that do not value women and girls, abuse of cultures and traditions, conflict and wars that create risk and vulnerability. Its about education, health, labour rights, violence against women, social norm, men and boys, mothers and daughters. Its about life.
Africa is rising to reclaim its conscience and dignity by leading such a campaign. Its not only an economic justice case, its about rights, dignity, and being! By calling it “marriage” are we not sanitizing a criminal act, sexual abuse, abduction and violations of rights? At the heart of this, is a lonely and bruised girl, often in silent prayer, carrying the trauma for the rest of her life. You and me together can end child, early and forced marriage, yes, within a single generation.