OUMA’S WEDDING: A CHILD IS GETTING MARRIED

by Mads Nissen

Niger

2008

Ouma is getting married. She is 14-years old. Her husband Hamidou is 33-years old and already has one wife. The African Sahara-country Niger hold the world record in child marriages – 3/4 girls are married before they turn 18.

In Niger, every 3 out of 4 female is married before the age of 18. These marriages are often arranged between the girl’s parents and her future husband to be, who has to pay for the girl with a dowry.

This is the story of a young girl named Ouma and her wedding as a second wife to a man almost twice her age.

According to NGOs, the issue of child marriage, along with Africa’s other problems such as poverty, illiteracy, high birthrate and high infant mortality rate, are all a part of this continent’s great dilemma.

Facts:

*Niger is amongst the world’s poorest and the least developed country; the populations is 13.2 million, and 4/5 of the country is covered by the Sahara Desert.

*77% of Niger’s women are married before the age of 18, which is the highest childhood marriage rate worldwide.

*Niger’s average fertility rate per women is 7 children”.

*Only 15% of Niger’s women can read or write, and only 28% of their men counterparts; the overall life expectancy rate is only 44.

Sources: UNICEF, UNDP, CIA, Care