Today is the day of the day of the African Child, we talked to Khensani Charllot from Mozambique. Khensani is an 18 years old student and girls’ rights activist from Mozambique. She is studying Industrial Engineering and she sees the challenge of being part of the few girls in an engineering class as an opportunity to show how powerful girls are. Khensani is a member of the Grail Movement in Mozambique since 2013. She sees The Grail as a major part of her personal growth and awareness of her role as “the agent of the change she wants to see” in society. As an activist for girls’ rights she has been working with girls from different communities in her city to promote awareness regarding girls’ rights and empowerment among girls.
- What are the main sexual and reproductive health and rights issues that affect adolescent girls and young women in particular in Mozambique?
The main issues that affect adolescent girls and young women in Mozambique is the lack of spaces where young people can talk and learn about SRHR; in our families the close-mindedness of our parents when it comes to sexuality topics and the limited information provided in our schools on this topics is the main reason why there are so many misconceptions and taboos on SRHR.
What is the Mozambique context in terms of Violence against women including steps to address the challenges
Mozambique is among the leading countries in terms of legislation that protect women. This shows that Violence against women is an issue recognized in our society and there are actions being taken to change the situation. But we still have a long way to go; most of the bills passed by our government have no real impact because they are not implemented and most of the people who are the beneficiaries of these tools don’t even know about the existence of them.
- What is the Mozambique context in terms of child, early forced marriages including steps to address the challenges?
Mozambique has the second highest rates of early marriages in Southern Africa. Some of the factors that contribute to this situation are the harmful cultural practices present in our country, the fact that even though early marriage is outlawed here in Mozambique, there are no punishments for the people involved in this practice (parents, community leaders) and also the fact that although the legal age to get married is 18 years old, parents can emancipate their children to get married before that. So unless child marriage is taken serious enough to be a crime severely punished the numbers of girls married before 18 will continue rising and we won’t be able to break this chain of violence.
–This year, the African Union is focusing on young people under the theme; Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in the youth. What are the priorities that governments should focus on for young women and girls?
The priority governments should focus on for girls and young women is education because when girls are educated they make better choices and have the ability to contribute in a much powerful way to the common good of their families, communities and the country as a whole.
We at FEMNET are running the #SRHRDialogues social media campaign, kindly share with us a key message for us to include in our social media strategy.
Women account for almost half the world’s total population; how do we expect to ever end poverty and ensure prosperity to everyone when around 3.7billion people are still being deprived basic human rights?