Birth Certificate Saves Young Girl from Child Marriage

In Sierra Leone, the practice of child marriage is widespread. Thanks to a birth certificate supplied by Plan International Ireland, one girl was able to resist and escape the negative consequences of early marriage.


In Sierra Leone, where the practice of child marriage is widespread, thanks to a birth certificate supplied by Plan International Ireland, one girl was able to resist.

The marriage had been arranged by the young girl’s father and her family despite her mother’s objections. At the wedding ceremony, the registrar queried whether the girl was legally old enough. The girl’s mother was able to produce a birth certificate proving she was too young for marriage.

Speaking later, the girl said; “My mother disagreed with the family to give my hand in marriage and used by birth certificate to show local leaders that I was not old enough to be married. The number of early marriages could be reduced if all marriage registrars asked for birth certificates as proof of age and all girls had a certificate to prove their age.”

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