Rumbek East unites against forced early marriages to protect young girls

Rumbek East unites against forced early marriages to protect young girls

In a bid to promote gender equality, protect human rights, and empower communities about the dangers of early and forced marriages, Rumbek East County in Lakes State is spearheading various youth-led awareness campaigns to combat the pervasive practices among the communities.

Led by the Rumbek Youth and Sports Association (RYSA) and young people in the area, the campaign marked a pivotal moment in the community’s journey towards fighting the recurring impunity and bettering young girls in the area.

There has been a registered upsurge in gender-based violence and early and forced marriages in Rumbek despite its prohibition by customary laws and a public order that was passed in 2022 by the Lakes State Revitalised Transitional Legislative Assembly.

However, under the theme “#TitKoRot” which translates as “Let’s protect ourselves,” the initiative gathered momentum, drawing attention to the urgent need to end such harmful practices.

Makuei Mabor, the association’s focal person in Rumbek East, said the campaign was undertaken to gather efforts and tackle such entrenched issues.

“Our main objective is to make sure there will be no forced marriage. There will be no early marriage. We aim to protect the rights and dignity of our young people,” he narrates.

Mabor called on the communities in Rumbek East to unite their ranks and end the practice.

In the vibrant atmosphere of Barpakeng, participants and locals from diverse backgrounds converged and discussed the ramifications of vices. Over 800 locals in the area attended the campaign.

Sarah Cholhok, a young lady in the suburb, revealed that the vice was tearing the communities apart and that it was high time to end it.

“Forced marriage denies us the opportunity to pursue education and fulfil our aspirations. It perpetuates cycles of poverty and inequality, hindering our progress as a community,”

“As young girls, we are denied the right to make choices about our own futures, subjecting us to untold hardships and injustices. This truly robs us of our agency and autonomy,” she concluded.

But through interactive discussions and awareness-raising activities, the locals gained invaluable insights into the detrimental effects of these practices, particularly on the lives of young girls.

Representing the voices of youth, Isaiah Bol Bol encouraged the communities to change their perceptions about young girls and end the practice—something he said will bring about hope and transformation.

“As the issue unfolds, a sense of solidarity is needed. We need to see the community’s collective resolve to enact positive change. Together, we need to pledge to challenge harmful norms, uphold the rights of youth, and pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable society,” he said.

The campaign, implemented by RYSA with funding from the Norwegian People’s Aid, aims to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of early and forced marriages and empower youth to advocate for change.

In the aftermath of the campaign, its impact reverberated throughout Rumbek East, igniting conversations and inspiring action.

The youth representative stressed the importance of education and empowerment in breaking the cycle of forced marriages and fostering a brighter future for generations to come.

With newfound momentum, the community embarked on a transformation journey, guided by the principles of justice, and empowerment.

Amidst the challenges that lie ahead, the campaign reminds the locals of the power of collective action in effecting meaningful change. In Rumbek East, the fight against early and forced marriages has only just begun, fueled by the unwavering determination of its people to build a stable society.

As community members unite in their commitment to end these harmful practices, the campaign serves as a beacon of hope for a brighter and more equitable future for youth in Rumbek East.