Jessica Bennett is gender editor at The New York Times and has recently led an exciting multi-media project releasing on the International Day of the Girl Child (11 October), "This is 18". It shows what life looks like for girls turning 18 in 2018 around the world, captured through photographs,
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Two years ago, 16-year-old Salia Shemsu waited to be married off. Like many young girls in Ethiopia, it was only a matter of time before she would need to leave her family for a husband. Then an opportunity she never expected arrived. A local announcement called for young people to join an entrepreneurship programme. Salia responded immediately. Salia’s district is among 30 in Ethiopia where a joint UNFPA-UNICEF programme is now empowering vulnerable adolescent girls and boys to support themselves and make healthy decisions – by providing them with the knowledge and skills to do so.
"It's a crime. It's like wiping a person away because you take everything away from them." (KII - Women's Rights Advocate, Kandahar) Child marriage in Afghanistan persists at rates that suggest at least one in three young girls will be married before they turn 18.