News/Press

NEW YORK, 30 May 2014 (IRIN) - Scientific advances in human biology may soon have a profound bearing on the policies that governments and organizations adopt towards young mothers, caregivers and babies in poor and stressed communities.

There is an emerging body of scientific evidence to show that the environment in which a very young baby develops is pivotal in shaping its brain in ways that can significantly influence its chances in later life.

Two United Nations agencies today welcomed the first campaign by the African Union to end child marriage, a practice that robs over 17 million girls – 1 in 3 – across the continent of their youth.

"What we are seeing today is an Africa-wide movement of leaders and organizations collectively saying 'No to Child Marriage'," said Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

OHANNESBURG, May 28 2014 (IPS) - Just 17 years old, Clarisse is already a mother of two, who lives with her husband and his four other wives in rural southern Chad. Three years earlier, she had watched her mom and sisters preparing food for a party one day. At first she celebrated along with everyone else, not realising it was her own wedding ceremony. When she discovered this, she was frantic.

When my first child was born four years ago, no sooner had he entered the world, than the hospital staff handed me a form to fill out. Despite my happy, delirious, sleep-deprived state of mind…