Music against child marriage (By Juan Haro)


The 30thAnniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child lands in Niger. UNICEF launched an artistic video with international music producer Moon Boots and vocalist Black Gatsby to join global efforts to fight against child marriage and to promote schooling for girls in Niger.

All girls and boys have the right to a childhood where they can play, rest and be protected from harm, abuse and exploitation. But for thousands of children in Niger, childhood is cut short by marriage. UNICEF estimates that around 3 in 4 young girls were married before the age of 18, and 1 in 4 before the age of 15 in the country.

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'Music and arts are powerful tools to make the world aware that ending child marriage is possible. We need to invest in positive alternatives to child marriage; and one of the best positive alternatives for girls is their education'.

'When a girl is married as a child her fundamental rights are violated. Putting an end to child marriage is a focus of UNICEF's work in Niger. But we can't achieve it alone. Working with artists and partners such as Moon Boots and Black Gatsby, UNICEF finds new alliances to fight to the persistence of child marriage worldwide' said Feacute;liciteacute; Tchibindat, UNICEF Representative in Niger.

Child marriage persists because of multiple factors including poverty, low levels of education and social norms to which families feel pressured to conform. Since unequal gender norms put a much higher value on boys and men than on girls and women, girls are sometimes seen as liabilities to the family and are therefore married off.

The music video was filmed in the desert of Agadez, Niger, and was produced in partnership with UNICEF Niger, Moon Boots and Black Gatsby, and directed by South Africa's Rooftop Productions. The music video will be promoted on UNICEF global channels across the world on the 1stof July.

'I#39;m so grateful we have organizations like UNICEF tackling important issues and helping people in need around the world. I#39;ll be getting married soon which makes the cause of child marriage resonate with me even more. I#39;m honored UNICEF chose the song D#39;angelo (Black Gatsby)' said Moon Boots artist.

'As an artist, my hope is to create music that can make an impact and help affect change in any way, whether big or small. I feel so grateful that 'Power' has inspired the family at UNICEF to share this important and powerful message, helping us all to be more aware of some of the troubles others are facing around the world' affirmed Black Gatsby artist.

Over the past years, the Government of Niger has made significant efforts to create protective environment for children. It has developed a multisector national action plan to end child marriage and adopted a decree for the protection of the girl-child in school to guarantee access and retention until age 16. UNICEF in Niger supports the development of laws and policies, and work to strengthen systems which make enforcing child marriage prohibition laws more feasible.

UNICEF works with a range of stakeholders, including grassroots community organizations and religious and traditional leaders to address the social norms that allow child marriage to perpetuate in the country.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), which guides UNICEF's work, protects children from practices that could hamper the realization of their potential. Niger has ratified the Convention in 1990.

Source:United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)