An awareness campaign on child, early and forced marriages through debate took place at Government High School Ntumbaw in Donga Mantung Division of the North West Region on May 18, 2015. The campaign which seeks to promote the education of the girl child was organized the Global Network for Rights and Development- GNRD in collaboration with HOFNA Cameroon. In a purely intellectual exercise, the students of Government High School Ntumbaw shared knowledge and ideas on whether it should be education before marriage or marriage before education. For close to 2 hours, the panelists showcased the ups and downs on some societal realities that have hampered the education of the girl child.
At the end of the debate, the students all agreed that society would progress if child, early and forced marriages are abolished. Besides, the students also argued that when a woman is educated, the entire family is and so is humanity as well. More so, they also raised pertinent points like forced marriages lead to frustration and majority end up as prostitutes.
Working in groups, teachers and students also participated in the Action 2015, an exercise which engaged them to add their voices to the global action movement. More to that, students and teachers also voiced out what they want for Cameroon post 2015.
Addressing students and teachers during the exercise, Madame Christelle Bay, Cameroon Coordinator of GNRD expressed gratitude to the students and teachers for intellectual exercise. She called on all the students to be ambassadors of the awareness campaign to “Stop Child Marriage!” Furthermore, Madame Christelle Bay also disclosed that the leading cause of death for girls 15-19 years is early pregnancy complications. Majority of them she added are as a result of early and forced marriages. She also took time to share her Yali experience with the students. There was euphoria and jubilations when she revealed that while in the United States of America, she had the opportunity to shake hands with US President Barrack Obama.
Talking to this reporter at the end of the exercise one of the panelist, Daouda Adamu said that he was very impressed by the various presentations. He said as a matter of fact, education is very important for the girl child. He thanked GNRD for selecting GHS Ntumbaw to benefit from the laudable initiative. On the other hand, Sule Ethel said that the exercise was timely and will go a long way to change lives in the communities, adding that even though Mboscuda has been encouraging girl child education, the magnitude of what GNRD is doing will surely change these obnoxious beliefs.
The choice of GHS Ntumbaw was not by error given that approximately 85% of the population is Muslims. In the past, early marriages were rampant among Muslim girls. As the Principal of GHS Ntumbaw puts it, he is sure the awareness will curb the phenomenon of forced marriages.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)