Child marriage is the same as sex slavery and child trafficking. Kenya is ranked 20th in the world with the highest number of child brides. Statistics dictate that 4% of girls are married before reaching fifteen years. It is a harsh reality in a country with a law stating the minimum age of getting married is 18. It is a massive problem for most girls since it is not part of everyday conversation. The statistics reflect the cause and effects of child marriage on girls and society altogether.
In the ancient years, tribes and communities prepared their girls for marriage. The education of girls was on how to maintain a household. In those days, education was not available, and whatever they learned from their elders was to prepare them for marriage. Marriage was a prestigious cultural event which to date is still is, but the times have changed. There is access to education, careers, and the choice of either getting married or not. It is essential to educate ourselves on maintaining cultural activities while exposing our girls to the better possibilities of the world. Communities must acknowledge that times have changed, and girls should have the freedom to choose a suitable life for themselves. Giving space to girls and allowing them to choose their path to life helps in protecting child marriages.
One of the causes of child marriages in Kenya is poverty. 42% of Kenyans are living below the poverty line. Many families face a food crisis; they only have enough to feed family members and stay alive. The families lack the means to sustain a healthy and robust physical and mental well-being. The cycle of poverty in Kenya has made the young, virgin girls be assets. They are property that can sell. For instance, a poverty-stricken family can sell a young daughter off to child marriage only to receive goats, cattle, camels as a dowry sign; this means that the dowry can help sustain the family.
Secondly, the level of education that girls cause child marriage. Parents are known to withdrawing their daughters out of school when they begin menstruation and sell them to marriage. The reason for this absurd activity is to prevent girls from having sexual encounters with boys their age. Many communities in rural Kenya believe that only virgins are worth selling for marriage. Also, child marriages prevent potential pregnancy among young girls. As much as it sounds absurd, communities enslaving a girl into child marriage force them to have sexual activities with their husbands. Child pregnancy out of wedlock is not a mitigated risk.
Moreover, children are subjected to early marriage when their mother is also a subject of early marriage. Marriage is a respected institution such that children of married parents are more respected than that wedlock children. Nonetheless, child pregnancy in a marriage is considered moral than a mother with a child out of wedlock.
In Kenya, girls are assets of the marriage. Girls are the answer to end poverty. In African culture, cattle, goats, camels, and donkeys are a sign of wealth. It is essential to allow independence among the girls. The communities should spearhead the importance of education among the girls and freedom. Parents should understand that there is more to life than marriage. Marriage is not the solution to poverty.