“I Can Be More,” Give Me A Chance, I am A Child not a Wife

Population Solutions for Health and PSI with funding from the Swedish Embassy successfully launched, the “Give Me A Chance/Ndipeiwo Mukana/Nginikani iThuba; I am A Child, Not A Wife” campaign against child marriages on 30 November 2022.

With girls in the forefront, the campaign aims to create a dialogue in which girls can raise their voices on the issue of child marriages, and how it affects them across different spheres of their lives and share what they see in their communities.

The campaign landed in the 16 Days of Activism – an opportune period to spread the #GiveHerChance message further, during a time when the community is more alert and receptive to messages on GBV. Child marriages is a cruel reality for young girls and a form of violence that needs to end.

Give Her A Chance!

Young girls, in attendance at the launch shared the key drivers of child marriages in their communities which were economic challenges, poverty, religion, culture, and mining.

I Can Be More: Give Me A Chance, I am A Child not a Wife
“The economy is bad and different faiths are playing a part in causing child marriages. You find one man with more than 6 wives and all of them are pregnant. In some cases, they will be the breadwinners, working whilst the husband does nothing. This made me aspire to further my education and eventually study law to advocate for the girl child.” – reiterated a young girl from Hopely.

The Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe, Asa Pehrson assured that the ‘Give Me A Chance’ campaign is the answer. It will act as a gateway to bring opportunities for young girls and women to reach their full potential.

I Can Be More: Give Me A Chance, I am A Child not a Wife
Asa Pehrson, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe

In agreement, the office of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development highlighted that by delaying marriage and by Giving HER A CHANCE to remain in school it enables girls to improve their education, health, and employment opportunities which in turn helps to break the cycles of poverty that passes from generation to generation.

I Can Be More: Give Me A Chance, I am A Child not a Wife
“We need a chance as young girls. I can do much better if you support me! Young girls can also be supported as much as boys to reach a higher level. Give us a chance. I am a child, not a wife.” – Kelly T Guzha, Zvimba

There is a need to sensitize the community, parents and media fraternities to strengthen advocacy and align. The Dialogue was rich with activists Ruvimbo Tsopodzi , Maud Chifamba and Magda Chavhunduka voices’ on the solutions and what needs to be done to end child marriage, as well as balance the gender scale.

“Parents have a strong role to play to avoid getting the girls into child marriages. It is either they are facilitating or protecting.” – Madga Chavhanduka

“When reporting child marriages, let us report it as it is. It is RAPE! Let us start bringing stigma to this so that people know what they are doing. They are raping children, there is no wife who is 14 years old.” – Maud Chifamba

“Those marrying off their young girls need to stop. Our government need to put stiffer penalties because this is a predicament pestering our communities and the nation at large.” – Ruvimbo Tsopodzi

Young girls are vibrant. They are full of dreams and hopes and we are saying #GiveHerAChance. Here are some of the ambitions young girls shared at the Give Me A Chance dialogue:

“When I grow up, I want to be a meteorologist. I want to study weather patterns, geographically features and tell you all about the weather.” – Plaxedes from Zvimba

“When I grow up, I want to be a journalist because I love reporting news. “- Kudzai from UMP

“As a Development practitioner currently studying at Bindura University, I want to do human development. Everything is human centered, to have economic, social, or political development it starts with human development.” Caren from Rushinga

The event marked the beginning of a movement, supported by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, partners, and distinct influencers/ambassadors such as Memory the Mechanic, the brilliant Maud Chifamba, talented Feli Nandi, and the king himself, Mambo Dhuterere giving hope to the many young girls in Zimbabwe.

“I Can Be More,” Give Me A Chance, I am A Child not a Wife
Memory “Makanika” Bere
“I Can Be More,” Give Me A Chance, I am A Child not a Wife
Maud Chifamba
“I Can Be More,” Give Me A Chance, I am A Child not a Wife
Feli Nandi
“I Can Be More,” Give Me A Chance, I am A Child not a Wife
Mambo Dhuterere and wife

After all is said and done. We all have a part to play, and this is a platform giving young girls the space to voice, Give Me A Chance/Ndipeiwo Mukana/Nginikani iThuba. Let us take a stand and support the girl child, “Give Her A Chance, She is Child, not a Wife.” For more information, follow pshzim pages for updates on activities on the “Give Me Chance” campaign.