Namibian Rural Women\’s Assembly Statement: Hands off our Girls


The 11th October marks the International Day of a Girl Child, and coming up to the date we are learning about families in the Kunene Region in Namibia who are selling off their young daughters to older men and tourists at a price. All this for the family to just survive. The Namibian Rural Women\’s Assembly (NRWA) strongly condemn this act of selling off and marrying off young women stripping them of their education and freedom of choice especially on reproduction and marriage! In last month\’s constituency engagement in Kunene Region by our leaders, we became aware of what happened in that particular region where 45 girls shared their experiences of being married off young. Some women shared about the traditional practice of being they have been sold off as brides, at the age as young as of 6 years old. The women testified that they had no choice to say NO to these early marriages and that this usually happened soon after their first menstrual cycle. As NRWA we cannot allow these actions to continue, as our young girls continue to carry the burden of care for families who are financially struggling and being exploited by outside forces, like tourists and more influential men in society! These young girls are saddled with the burden of care for their older husbands to conceive many children at a very young age, caring for the home, the children and the larger family structure while being children themselves. Parallel to being young brides, girl children are being sold off to tourists for as little compensation of N$ 2500.00; to be sexually exploited at the will of these travelers. This is another form of Capitalism exploiting our communities. This MUST stop! The NRWA is alarmed and concerned with young women being stripped from their ability to live full lives where they can make their own choices about their futures. We are further appalled at the justice system, with its state-of-the-art children\’s rights policies, which is doing nothing to protect our children against this threat of early child marriage, rape and human trafficking.

Young women bear the brunt of the poverty cycle created by capitalist venture and misappropriation of power and resources. Join us in the region to hold the Namibian governments and community leaders accountable for the violent and violating experiences the young women in the Kunene Region in Namibia are enduring. Remain with us as we demand for access to land, decent work, good education, better housing and basic human rights as Rural Women in Namibia.


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