Draft Concept Note - African Union Pages
Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA, P.O. Box 3243 Telephone : 011-551 7700 Fax : 011-551 7844
website : www. africa-union.org
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AFFAIRS, AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION
ENDING CHILD MARRIAGE AND HARMFUL
TRADITIONAL PRACTICES IN AFRICAMECHANISMS AND STRATEGIES
Draft Concept Note
Africa has the second highest rates of child marriage in world after South Asia.1 West
and Central Africa in particular follow closely on the heels of South Asia with two out of
five (41%) girls marrying before 18 years.2
Child marriage is a complex issue that is driven by a number of factors in different
societies. Gender inequality due to entrenched societal differentiation between males
and females based on economic status, class, ethnicity, caste, sexuality, religion,
traditional norms, HIV status, and disability among others, is a major factor. In
patriarchal cultures, where girls lack the same perceived value as boys right from birth;
families and communities may discount the benefits of educating and investing in their
daughters’ development. Child brides are a strong reflection of pervasive gender
Child marriage is a human rights violation and has been included in a number of legal
instruments at the continental and international levels. The African Charter on the
Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) defines a child as a person under the age of
18 years, and the African Youth Charter defines a minor as a person between the ages
Furthermore, girls aged 15 to 19 are faced with maternal mortality and morbidity as a
result of pregnancy and childbirth.3 Child brides are prone to disabilities associated with
early childbirth: obstetric fistula, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) including HIV
and incontinence.4 Studies have also shown that early sexual debut among girls –
particularly those with little or no access to education – increases their vulnerability to
child marriage. Child marriage also affects girls’ education, child brides usually drop out
of school and are denied the opportunity to complete their education, significantly
reducing their ability to earn an income and lift themselves and their children out of
poverty. Conversely, if girls are able to stay in school and avoid early marriage, the
benefits are widely felt.
UNICEF, ‘UNICEF Data: Monitoring the Situation of Women and Children – Child Marriage’. Available at
http://data.unicef.org/child-protection/child-marriage (last accessed on 1st October 2014).
UNFPA (2012) p 26.
ACERWC, ‘Addis Ababa Declaration to End Child Marriage in Africa’ 23 Session of the African
Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, para 4 of the Preamble.
ACERWC, ‘Addis Ababa Declaration to End Child Marriage in Africa’ para 4 of the Preamble.
The incidence of teenage pregnancy has also been associated with child marriage.
Although a multi-factor problem, poverty, illiteracy, family financing pressures and
societal norms predominantly account for inducing girls to enter into sexual activity
resulting in teenage pregnancy.5
Despite the fact that child marriage is still socially accepted it cannot be denied that a
girl is deliberately exposed to sexual abuse and exploitation, usually by her parents,
family and influences within the community.
The African Union considers this as a major hindrance to the development of the
continent and this practice has to be faced if the continent is to be seen as progressive
and ready to tackle the ever evolving dynamics of a changing world. The Commission
launched a Campaign to End Child Marriage in May 2014 and has been focusing on a
number of activities
Following the continental launch, two specific appointments were made in order to
enhance the advocacy and visibility of the Campaign - an AU Goodwill Ambassador Ms Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda- Executive Director of YWCA Geneva and a Special
Rapporteur - Dr Fatima Delladj-Sebaa- Member of the African Committee on The
Rights and Welfare of the Child, were appointed.
To also kick-start the 2015 AU Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development
towards Africa’s Agenda 2063, African Union Heads of State and Government and
African First Ladies were hosted to a High Level Breakfast meeting on accelerating
efforts to end child marriage in Africa. The event, which was hosted by His Excellency,
the President of Chad, Mr. Idriss Deby Itno and the First Lady of Chad, Mme Hinda
Deby Itno, focused on mobilizing continental awareness for the campaign, build on
recent achievement and make greater strides to prevent the harmful effects of child
marriage in Africa. A major outcome of this meeting was the commitment to the
Communique to End Child Marriage in Africa by all leaders present.
Over the four year period of the campaign, the AUC has selected 30 countries* in which
it intends to launch the campaign. Three countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia and
Niger) have so far launched the campaign. In 2015, the country launches are also
planned for DRC, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The role of partners in the Campaign is crucial, as most partners that support the AUC
in the Campaign have already been working in the area of ending child marriage on the
Keller ET al, ‘Teenage Pregnancy and Motherhood in a Ghanaian Community’ Journal of Social
Development in Africa (1999) Vol 14 No.1 69 – 84 at p 69. Available at
8.pdf (Last accessed on 20 January 2015).
continent and also globally and they bring forth their valuable experience to the
OBJECTIVE OF THE COURSE
The overarching objective of the course is to provide an understanding of child marriage
and other harmful traditional practices within the broad framework of social development
linking it to the key goals and outcomes of the AUC Campaign to End Child Marriage in
Africa, AU’s Agenda 2063 and post MDG agenda, in order to be suitably or better
equipped to design and manage development plans in which social and economic
policies and strategies are fully interfaced to deliver the kinds of transformative
outcomes desired in Africa today. More specifically, the course will provide training on
all dimensions of harmful traditional practices programme (HTP), specifically the design,
implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, doing so on the basis primarily of the
expressed interest of African governments and also fully involve regional economic
communities and selected civil society networks to be part of this training. It is expected
that the trainings will take place with experts from these countries. The first training will
be in the second quarter of 2015 in southern region.
POLICY AGENDA SERVED BY THE COURSE
The course will respond to the needs articulated by African governments for a corpus of
skilled mid-level and senior personnel; programme officer and or manager in regional
economic communities and CSOs who are adequately equipped to design, implement,
monitor, and evaluate social policies that dovetail with national regional development
needs and aspirations.
Participants will be invited from AU Member States (2 participants per Member State),
RECS ( 1 from each), CSO networks (2) and the AU Commission to attend the training
course. Target participants are:
Middle and senior level policy officials and managers directly connected
with or responsible for planning, designing, managing, monitoring and
evaluating development plans and policies in their countries particularly in
the area of HTP;
Officials of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and CSOs with
programmatic interest in the domain of social development planning
particularly in the area of HTP;
The African Union Commission strongly encourages and supports the participation of
suitably qualified female officials in its capacity development and training programme.
SKILLS TO BE IMPARTED
By the end of the capacity-enhancement training programme, the participants are
expected to have acquired:
Insights into comparative experiences of social development design and
implementation specifically HTP from other regions of the world;
A strong appreciation of the interconnections between social and economic
development objectives and social development outcomes;
A full appreciation of the value of integrated and holistic public policymaking
with a strong social content;
An understanding and appreciation of the multi-dimensionality of social policy
instruments and social policy functions, including the ways in which particular
social policy instruments( regional and continental) produce multiple
A robust capacity
Technics for monitoring and evaluating social development programmes and
A capacity to effectively engage with extra-territorial actors who offer policy
advice, including policy consultants.
MODE OF DELIVERY
The course will be delivered in English
Resource persons with a first-hand knowledge of Africa’s social policy landscape,
the strategies for interfacing economic and social policy, and practices of HTP
will drive the course.
The pedagogical approach will combine lectures, practical applications
through the use of case studies and group discussions.
Group work will also be employed to promote peer learning and impart
knowledge and skills. Participants admitted into the training programme
should be prepared to present short technical reports on their own
experience on the course theme.
DATES AND DURATION
- Number of days: 5
- Dates: September 2015
TRAINING PROGRAMME AND MATERIALS
The outline of the training programme and other relevant information will be posted
on the AU website, End Child marriage campaign homepage and other relevant
documentation and training materials will be circulated during the training course.
The AU Commission will be responsible for the invitations to Member States and
secretarial support, will be availed by the institute selected to do the training.
The cost for the training will be borne by AUC and supporting partners. Once the names
of participants have been submitted to AUC with an official letter of assignment (Email
address: [email protected]) by their Member States and RECs, electronic air
tickets will be provided to the participants.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF NOMINATIONS FROM MEMBER STATES:.
i. Dr. Olawale Maiyegun
Department of Social Affairs
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: 00-251-115 533616/517844
Tel: 00-251-115-517700 Ext. 300/251-115-157175
E-Mail: [email protected]
ii. Dr Johan Strijdom, Head of Division: Social Welfare, Vulnerable
Groups, Drug Control and Crime Prevention,
Department of Social Affairs
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: 00-251-115 533616/517844
Tel: 00-251-115-517700 Ext. 279,
E-Mail: [email protected];