A Champion for girls’ rights in Tanzania

Child Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM) is a persistent issue in Tanzania where 2 in 5 girls are married before 18 years old. Tanzania is among countries with the highest rate of child marriage where children get married as early as 11 years old.

The High Commission of Canada in Tanzania continues to support the work of Valerie Moska as CEFM Champion, a designation that recognizes her contributions to help end CEFM and empower young girls.

Ms. Msoka understands the devastating and long term effects that come with child marriage and the impact it has on a girl. That is why she has become a fierce advocate in ensuring each girl’s voice gets heard. Valerie has built a platform through her work that shares stories like Leokadia who was forced to marry at 14 years old:

“My name is Leokadia. I was forced into marriage at 14 years. My father received eleven cows as my dowry from a man who was 36 years old. Most of the time this man used to beat me. When I went to my parents they sent me back to my husband. Sometimes the ward chairperson intervened but to no avail. When I got pregnant, my husband beat me because he said the pregnancy was not his. When I went to get my baby, I ran away to the AGAPE Centre. I am now 17 and am in Form II, thanks to AGAPE. I urge parents and the society to fight against child marriage and I ask the government to help the children who are in AGAPE.”

The High Commission was very pleased to receive Ms. Moska’s report outlining her outreach, activities and observations during the International Day of the Girl in Shinyanga.

Working towards a common goal

Canada is determined to raise awareness and generate action to end this harmful practice and is proud to support the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes a target to end child, early and forced marriage.

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