Heartwarming video of Sierra Leone's First Lady celebrating with country's women after a bill banning child marriage was passed (VIDEO))

Thursday, June 27, 2024 -
Sierra Leone's First Lady, Fatima Maada Bio, celebrated with her country's women after a bill banning child marriage, which she championed, was passed by parliament.

On June 21, 2024, Sierra Leone passed a historic bill to ban child marriage after girls across the country and Save the Children joined a campaign to criminalise the widespread practice. 

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Bill 2024 seeks to criminalise the act of marrying or entering into a union with a child under the age of 18. It includes provisions for enforcing penalties on offenders, protecting victims’ rights, and ensuring access to education and support services for young girls affected by early child marriage. 

Sierra Leone has one of the highest child marriage, early pregnancy and maternal mortality rates in the world, with about one-third of girls married before the age of 18, and another third giving birth before the age of 19, according to the Ministry of Health.  

Save the Children, a rights organisation, worked with First Lady Fatima Maada Bio, the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs, and other organisations to end child marriage in the country.   

The Office of the First Lady said the Bill will address enforcement challenges by establishing penalties for violations and calling upon community leaders to support its implementation actively. By strengthening existing laws and enhancing their enforcement, the bill seeks to create a more protective environment for children, particularly girls. 

Following the passage of the Child Marriage Prohibition Bill, First Lady Bio took to X to celebrate.

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