Early Marriage and Early Pregnancy and its Impact on Girls’ Education in Tanzania

Early Marriage and Early Pregnancy and its Impact on Girls’ Education in Tanzania 

{Kindly submitted by Yasin Amba}

On Wednesday, November 18th, third-year law students enrolled in Washington and Lee University School of Law’s International Human Rights Practicum will be presenting their findings from their recent human rights investigation trip to Tanzania. The course, taught by Professor Johanna Bond, provides students with the opportunity to create a shadow report. A shadow report allows NGOs to supplement or present alternative information to the periodic government reports that State parties are required to submit to international treaty committees.

NGOs play an essential role in providing both reliable and unbiased information to United Nations committees on issues such as violence against women, which may be overlooked in official reports published by the government. Many NGOs around the world have used shadow reports to successfully lobby various UN bodies, including treaty-monitoring bodies, (such the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women), thematic groups (such as the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women), charter-based bodies (such as the Commission on the Status of Women), and the High Commissioner for Human Rights. These UN bodies will use these reports to examine particular human rights issues more closely.

This semester, students in the Practicum tackled the issue of child marriages and early pregnancies and its effect on girls’ education in Tanzania. To research this question, the students took a 12-day trip to Tanzania and interviewed current students as well as former students, and various government and educational officials in three rural villages in Tanzania. After returning from the trip last month, the students have been busy analyzing their facts and finalizing the shadow report. Once completed, the report will be sent to the Womens’ Legal Aid Center in Dar es Salaam and will be incorporated into a larger shadow report for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

The students have also prepared a presentation to share the results of their findings. The presentation will take place Wednesday, November 18, 2015 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. in Classroom C Sydney Lewis Hall (Washington and Lee School of Law). The even is co-sponsored by Center for International Education 2015/16 Seminar on Human Rights in Africa with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Gender Action Group, the Public Interest Law Students’ Association, the Women’s & Gender Studies Program, and the Women’s Law Student Organization. Dinner will be provided.

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One thought on “Early Marriage and Early Pregnancy and its Impact on Girls’ Education in Tanzania

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