The High Commissioner of Canada in Nigeria, Christopher Thornley, has announced that Canada would be investing $6.5 million in the funding of projects in support of development of the Girl-Child in Nigeria.
He said this at the opening of a photo narrative exhibition titled, ‘Girls Voices: Speaking Out Against Child Marriage’, held in partnership with Girls Not Brides, held in Abuja.
Thornley, who is the new head at the High Commission of Canada in Nigeria, said while the projects are making a difference, the root causes are entrenched and the prevalence widespread. He said ending child marriage will not happen without the leadership and political will of national governments.
He informed that Canada welcomes the leadership of the African Union in addressing child marriage. The High Commissioner stated that the AU Campaign to end Child Marriage in raising awareness and accelerating change worldwide. He added that Nigeria has signed on to the campaign and is working with the support of Canada to end the issue of child, early and forced marriage in Nigeria.
He further stated that the Government of Canada is committed to ending child marriage because it is a global problem that cuts across all religions, regions cultures and ethnicities and around 15 million girls are married every year before they turn 18.
He explained: “Child marriage is a violation of girls’ rights and it disrupts their access to education, jeopardizes their health and makes them vulnerable to violence. It also keeps girls from reaching their full potential and from fully contributing to the social and economic growth of their families, communities and countries”.
In Nigeria $3m Dollars has been invested in Save The Children while another $3.5m with in the UNFPA and funding smaller projects in Sokoto, Zamfara and Birnin Kebbi.