Nelly Bassily | December 15, 2008
Nearly half of all Central African women marry before they are 19, according to UNICEF. Chadian journalist Frédéric Doumdigao Komba confronts this widespread custom in a radio program first aired on Radio La Voix de l’Espérance (Voice of Hope Radio) in N’Djaména, Chad. The program presents some of the reasons parents offer for marrying off their young daughters, including protection from sexual harassment and out-of-wedlock pregnancies, but reveals that family poverty and lack of education for girls are the root causes. The report features the voices of Madame Naïma, who says her father forced her to marry at 13, and Madame Dina, who says that early marriage stole her childhood. The program also explores the risks of early marriage, including health problems in girls physically unready for pregnancy, and the high rate of marital unhappiness and divorce. This broadcast is available (in French only) at: http://www.internews.org/multimedia/audio/chad/Mariage%20precoce%20Frederick%20Dj%C3%A9komb%C3%A9010808.mp3.