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Parents trade girl child for cow in East Africa.

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Child marriage is increasing in parts of war-torn South Sudan and drought-hit Kenya as parents swap their daughters for cows and goats to survive, campaigners said on Wednesday.

Africa accounts for nine out of the 10 countries with the highest rates of underage unions globally, advocacy group Girls Not Brides said, with girls marrying due to tradition, family ties, the stigma of pregnancy out of wedlock and poverty.



But long-running wars and climate change are now leading factors too, activists said, highlighting a rise in marriage among girls under the age of 18 in South Sudan to 52 percent from 40 percent in 2010, according to United Nations data.

“The conflicts just worsened the situation,” Dorcas Acen, a gender protection expert at the charity CARE International in South Sudan said.

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“Majority of the parents wish to give up their girls and marry them off because of the economic hardship. They are looking at how to reduce the number of mouths they need to feed.”

Despite a global decline in child marriages, there are still some 12 million underage girls married every year, often with devastating consequences for their health and education.

South Sudan has been gripped by civil war since 2013, pitting forces loyal to President Salva Kiir against rebels linked to former vice president Riek Machar, and millions are going hungry amind rampant inflation and declining oil output.

As the conflict drags on and hard currency loses it lustre, parents can now receive up to 300 cows in bride price, or dowry, when their a young girl weds, up from about 30 cows during peacetime, Acen said.

When there is a girl within the family ready to get married, people will come and present the number of cows,” she said on the sidelines of a global conference on child marriage in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

“Basically it’s just bidding – whoever bids with the highest number of cows will take the girl,” she said.

Across the border in Kenya, many semi-nomadic Maasai and Samburu herders exchanged their daughters for livestock during a severe drought last year that killed large numbers of animals, said Millicent Ondigo of Amref Health Africa.

“Since the number of goats has decreased, parents rather sell their daughter for four (or) five goats for marriage,” said Ondigo, a project officer for the Nairobi-based health charity.

Families often marry girls off at earlier ages during drought as this earns them dowry and increases the girls’ chances of being fed by wealthier husbands, experts say.

Ondigo is working to convince parents that sending girls to school would bring them longer-term economic benefits.

“(We told parents) when she is done with schooling, she will get a job and she will be able to buy you more than those four goats,” she said,

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Reuters

Motherland News

Nigerian President Buhari Warns Ballot box snatchers to value their lives

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President Muhammadu Buhari has warned those planning to snatch ballot boxes during the elections to desist or pay with his or her life if caught.



President Buhari who stated this at the opening session of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Caucus meeting in Abuja, on Monday, said that such act would be the last unlawful act the person will be brought to book.

Meanwhile, the governors of Imo, Rochas Okorocha and Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun were conspicuously absent at the meeting.

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Buhari who said he is confident that he has garnered enough supporters having gone round the country to campaign, urged party members to reassure their constituents to come out and vote on the rescheduled dates.

While urging party agents to watch out for the party interests at the polling units the president said that he has directed security agencies to identify hot spots and be ready to move should they suspect any attempts to cause problems by thugs across the country irrespective of party affiliations.

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– Vanguard

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Health & Lifestyle

DR Congo blame Unending Ebola Outbreak on Violence , Community Mistrust.

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DR Congo Ministry of Health spokesperson Jessica Ilunga has declared that violence and community mistrust have continued to hamper all efforts to control and end the fresh Ebola outbreak, which started Aug. 1.



Though according to the World Health Organization the number of new Ebola cases has dropped slightly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as there are 33% fewer cases to date in February compared with the same time period in December per STAT’s Helen Branswell, but some experts warn Axios that there remain signs that this outbreak is far from over.

Meanwhile, some experts warn that, that doesn’t mean the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is yet under control, and in fact it could simply be moving to new areas of the sprawling country.

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Johns Hopkins’ public health expert Jennifer Nuzzo maintains there are several reasons people should continue to view this outbreak as a cause for concern.

However, Nuzzo said Congo needs more than money from the international community and the U.S. in particular. Safety concerns have largely caused the CDC to limit its Ebola experts to the capital city of Kinshasa, where some have returned after being evacuated during an uptick in election-related violence, Nuzzo added that Now is the time for the U.S. to send them into the field.

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