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Youth Behind Innovative Solutions to Combat Child Marriage in Mozambique

In a rapidly changing world, UNFPA needs dynamic solutions to meet the needs of young women and girls, and provide platforms and opportunities so that their voices and opinions are heard. Mozambique has the sixth highest rate of child marriage in the world, affecting 1 in every 2 girls before the age of 18. With that in mind, and in the spirit of ‘nothing about us, without us’, UNFPA partnered with FSDMOZ and IdeaLab under the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to End Child Marriage to launch a national Hackathon for young people to submit innovative ideas to end child marriage within three key areas of interventions a) dissemination of the Law on Child Marriage, b) male engagement and c) tracking of child marriage cases.

The hackathon received over 100 initial applicants from across the country, all vying for the final prize of $1,000 USD and a chance to bring their ideas to life. Through a high level review process, a technical jury selected 3 finalists, all of whom were invited to join the Idea Lab Bootcamp; the largest social innovation event in Mozambique.The two winning projects, ‘Project Kamba’ and ‘It’s Just A Girl!’ both presented innovative and exciting solutions to put an end to child marriage in Zambezia and Nampula provinces under the national sexual and reproductive health flagship progamme Rapariga Biz:

It’s Just A Girl! 

“It’s Just A Girl” is focusing its efforts on community awareness on issues related to child marriage, particularly surrounding the awareness of the new child marriage law. The It’s Just A Girl project implements its activities through youth activists in the Pemba City, Cabo Delgado Province. 

In collaboration with community leaders, the It's Just A Girl youth activists disseminate messages through community debates, testimonies and presentations with girls and their parents/guardians. The aim of this project is to create greater awareness of the new child marriage law among adolescent girls among the IDP population who who are at risk of increased vulnerabilities, including child marriage. 

The idea has been gaining momentum since 2019, and It’s Just A Girl has been working with local populations and authorities for two years before entering the Hackathon. As the winner of the Hackaton, It´s Just A Girl is currently in the process of legalizing the association, which will allow for stronger advocacy for and impact on the lives of the adolescent girls displaced due to the conflict in Cabo Delgado.

Kamba

The second place Hackathon winner, named Project Kamba, seeks to respond to existing challenges sustaining the high rates of child mariage through an innovative solution for tracking cases of child marriage at the community level with a mobile application.

The application seeks to strengthen the tracking and referral system of child marriage cases in the context of the Rapariga Biz districts, and will be targeting various community actors such as adolescent girls and young women, families, guardians, community leaders and influencers, teachers, health providers etc.  

Additionally, the application will be used by the referral mechanisms for gender-based violence, including Ministry of Justice and the Police for the police to track complaints and enforce the law restricting child marriage.

The idea behind the Kamba project originated in 2018. Today, the Kamba team, made up of young system analysts, graphic and web designers, and sexual and reproductive health activists, has a fully developed mobile application and web system that will allow the population to make complaints as well as disseminate information about cases of early marriage. 

The Kamba Project is an example of UNFPA Mozambique´s emphasis on ensuring youth’s participation as change agents across our interventions and it will be piloted in selected Rapariga Biz districts with support from the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to End Child Marriage.