A series of studies released recently by the UN Population Fund and independent human right organizations provide a stinging indictment of the practice of child marriage in some of the world’s poorest countries. In 42 countries, more than one-third of all girls under the age if 18 are married.

South Sudan, where SIS works, is particularly affected. A recent report by the Human Rights Watch claims that “the country’s widespread child marriage exacerbates South Sudan’s pronounced gender gaps in school enrollment, contributes to soaring maternal mortality rates, and violates the right of girls to be free from violence.”

According to the report:

  • Half the girls in South Sudan aged 15 to 19 are married, with some brides as young as 12 years old.
  • Child marriage may contribute to low school attendance among females; girls make up only 39 percent of primary school students and 30 percent at secondary school.
  • There is “near total lack of protection” for victims who try to resist marriage or to leave abusive marriages.

SIS works with local partners to provide a better future for women and their daughters by offering vocational training and loans. The provisions help these Sudanese women build new lives. Learn how you can contribute to SIS’s work in South Sudan and around the world.

Read the full story about child marriage in Sudan at the AP’s website.