Rozaria Memorial Trust Mega Nhanga
Mega Nhanga and Girls Soccer Tournament is a brain child of Rozaria Memorial Trust founder and former African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda. The event is held every two years and is meant to address issues around access to equal opportunities, breaking gender stereotypes and ending child marriages. Rozaria Memorial Trust, and former African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage, and their partner hosted a series of activities in their last edition in 2022 as they held it on commemoration of the Day of the African Child (DAC). The theme of the Day of the African Child (DAC) 2022 was "Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013", as adopted in accordance with Articles 32 and 33 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Charter/ACRWC).
Background and Context
Child marriage, defined as a formal marriage or informal union before the age of 18, is a reality for both boys and girls; however, girls are disproportionately the most affected. Globally nearly one in three girls are married before the age of 18, and one in seven is married before the age of 15. An estimated 10 million child marriages occur every year. While data showed that, overall, the median age at first marriage was gradually increasing due to Covid-19. Child marriage and other harmful practices rob girls of their childhood, deny them the chance to determine their future and threaten the well-being of individuals, families and societies. All forms of harmful practices are likely to cause harm and suffering.
Harmful practices have negative consequences on children, and they are likely to cause physical, psychological, economic and social harm and/or violence and limitations on children's capacity to participate fully in society or develop and reach their full potential. Harmful practices are imposed on children by family, community members and society at large. Harmful practices affect the child's physical and mental health in the short and longer-term, impair their ability to learn and socialise and impact their transition to adulthood with adverse consequences later in life. Early marriage perpetuates the cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
Over the years some progress were seen in the region and in most African countries. For examples:
- Africa adopted the African Common Position on Ending Child Marriage in 2015, following the launch of a continental campaign in 2014. The AU appointed the President of Zambia as Champion as well as the AU Goodwill Ambassador and the Special Rapporteur on Ending Child Marriage.
- SADC Parliamentary Forum adopted the Model law to eradicate child marriage. Other RECs like ECOWAS and EAC also adopted policies that contribute to the prevention and protection of the rights of children and the advancement of gender equality. Many African countries adopted developed national laws, policies, or initiatives aimed at ending child marriages.
- Zimbabwe, in 2022 adopted Marriage Law, Chapter 5.15 of 2022. The Legal Age of Consent was raised from 16 to 18 in a Constitutional Court ruling.
- South Africa, through the South African Law Reform Commission, proposed criminalising both forced and child marriages.
- In 2017, Malawi amended its constitutional provision and unequivocally set the marriageable age of both women and men at 18 years.
- In 2016, Uganda enacted an amendment to its Children's Act to penalise any harmful or customary practices with a term of imprisonment up to 7 years or a fine, or both.
- Ghana's amendment of its Children's Act in 2019.
- Rwanda's amendment of its Children's Act in 2016 to penalise any harmful customary practices
- Mozambique passed Marriage Law
Purpose and Objectives of the Mega Nhanga and Girls Soccer Tournament
This is a hybrid space (virtual and in-person) for gathering hundreds of girls and young women from across the African continent to hold crucial conversations, share experiences, strategise and collectively innovate for solutions.
The hosting of the Mega Nhanga from 17-19 June 2022 in commemoration of the DAC 2022 presented an opportunity to inform and take stock of progress and identify actions to accelerate and effectively eliminate harmful practices affecting children, especially girls in Africa. The Mega Nhanga presents further an opportunity to engage with girls and young women to initiate or strengthen a community rooted movement of young women and girls champions of ending child marriage and other harmful practices and to review the status of child marriage and other harmful practices affecting them, in order to claim their rights, secure justice and advocate for access to services.
- Launch a community-rooted social justice movement of young women and girls champions on ending child marriages
- Share information on laws and policies related to child marriage including the adopted Marriage Act in Zimbabwe
- Disseminate the African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage's Report
- Share innovations for community engagement and what needs to be done/or how young people can be involved in changing their environment for their own benefit.
- Young Women/Girls led series of Nhanga Conversations through virtual spaces anchoring resource persons, speakers and storytellers from across the continent in diverse areas of experience and expertise. This includes various social media platforms and tools such as Zoom, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook as well as traditional bonfire for those in-person.
- Hosting public messages, information booths and special small Nhanga group sessions as integral to the sports events for the 17th and 18th of June 2022. In-person Nhanga sessions on 17th and 18th evenings at RMT Education and Counselling Centre
- Hosting Editions of the RMT Girls Soccer Tournament with various teams from various districts with hundreds of girls expected to participate. In various roles, girls learn more through play and when they have fun. This non-traditional approach connects in and out of schools girls with the schools, their community, and the service providers. Girls can be professional athletes and soccer players and use that platform to fight harmful practices.
- Launch of Girls and young Women's community movement to end child marriage and other harmful practices
- Increased knowledge among girls and young women on laws, policies, practices related to child marriages
- Shared best practices and community actions by girls and young women to galvanise partnerships and collaborations
- Advocacy issues and messages related to girls education, access to justice, and sexual & reproductive health and rights
- Promotion of girls' soccer as a on-traditional professional pathway for girls in rural areas and as a means for massive public awareness and advocacy on ending child marriage, and means of breaking gender stereotypes.
Draft Program for the 2022 Mega Nhanga and Girls Soccer Tournament
Teams Training for the 2022 Girls Soccer Tourney
Rozaria Memorial Trust Soccer Tournament 2022
The Rozaria Memorial Trust Mega Nhanga & 3rd Edition Girls Soccer Tournament in commemoration of the Day of the African Child (DAC2022) took place from 17-19 June 2022 at Magaya Secondary School, Murewa on ending Child Marriages and harmful practices. The tournament was to champion girls rights and meant to celebrate young people who are fighting harmful practices in the communities. Some of the highlights of the event:
2019 Edition of the Girls Soccer