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Launch of Make Child Mothers Count campaign

TURMOIL: A 13 year-old Mexican mother with her baby

LONDON-BASED African women’s organisation FORWARD in collaboration with partners Girl to Girl Empowerment Movement, Advocacy Movement Network (based in Sierra Leone), UMATI, Tanzanian organisation Children’s Dignity Forum and Young Women’s Leadership Initiative from Kenya are launching the Make Child Mothers Count campaign today, to support child mothers back in to education.

Watch a short film which highlights the issues surrounding child motherhood and how FORWARD aims to help to overcome them, below:

For over 30 years FORWARD has supported some of the world’s most vulnerable girls and women. Their work on female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage has led us to uncover an alarming reality; child mothers are being left behind in the international effort to help women and girl’s access their human rights.

FORWARD said:

"When girls become mothers it marks the premature end of their childhood. The end of childhood often marks the end of their education which in turn stunts their economic potential.

"Child motherhood undermines a girl’s ability to exercise her right to education, health and personal autonomy. Child mothers tend to drop out of school early, and are often prevented from returning to formal education due to the social stigma they face.

"Sadly, without education, girls have limited opportunities to become economically independent, which in turn leaves them more vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence. The inability to return to school not only hinders girls’ economic potential, but it can also affect their self-esteem and social status within their own homes and in the wider community."

It’s challenging to quantify exactly how many child mothers exist in the world today, however FORWARD report that there are two million births to girls under 15 in developing countries.

Through this campaign FORWARD hopes to raise the issue of child motherhood and education and support child mothers back to school. This fundraising campaign is the start of a larger project FORWARD will be pioneering over the next two years regarding the rights of child mothers.

A spokesperson said:

"It is our hope that through this campaign, support for and acknowledgement of child mothers’ will become a key fixture on the international development agenda until both individual states and the international community prioritise the social and educational rights of child mothers."

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