Fellow: Tolulope Favour Aderibigbe
Grant Year: 2019
Location: Agege and Mushin Local Government Areas, Lagos State, Nigeria
Organization: Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN)
Project title: Advocacy for the Prohibition of the Practice of Child Marriage in Agege and Mushin Communities of Lagos State
Project summary: The Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN) will work to stop the growing number of child and forced marriages in northern Lagos communities. The situation is worsening in Lagos State, despite being known as Nigeria’s most cosmopolitan and educated state. This is partly due to the influx of migrant communities who are fleeing from the Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country, a region where child marriage is more common. The Agege and Mushin communities have the largest population of northern settlers in the state, with over 250,000 northerners in Agege, over 200,000 in the Mushin communities, with 50% of this entire population being women and girls. In 2019, CEWHIN conducted an investigation in the two communities and found that on average, a total of 4 to 5 child marriages occur on a weekly basis. They also conducted a focus group discussion with young girls in Agege that revealed more than half of the girls who are married are unable to complete their secondary schools due to pregnancy and childbearing. School enrollment records show a declining trend in the number of northern girls enrolled in Mushin and very little enrollment of northern girls in secondary schools overall. To end child marriage and change the future of women and girls, CEWHIN will advocate with the community heads of Agege and Mushin northern settlements to implement Lago’s State’s Child’s Right Law and prohibit the practice of child marriage in their communities by May 2020. To reach this goal, CEWHIN will create a 12-person team comprised of staff, local CSO partners, young girls and women, and influential community leaders that will create and implement community sensitization programs and campaigns, capacity building and advocacy workshops, peer to peer outreach, and who will advocate with local decision-makers to build a movement against child marriage. This project has the potential to protect over 200,000 women and girls in Agege and Mushin from child marriage.