Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Kabbaj announced, on Sunday, that her ministry is currently studying further conditions to obtain financial support through the Takaful and Karama programme to help prevent underage marriage among girls.
The conditions aim to provide social protection for girls aged under 18, ensuring the health of the mother and children.
El-Kabbaj added that Egypt is keen to invest in people, starting from the first 1,000 days in a child’s life and early childhood. This includes the provision of healthcare and goes on to ensure each child’s enrolment in schools, as well as improving home life through the “Decent Housing” initiative.
The minister indicated that there is cooperation ongoing between the Egyptian Government and civil agencies to achieve these goals.
She warned those families who marry off their underage daughters without formal documentation, so that they can avoid the law. She asserted that undocumented or customary marriages lead to serious problems for the girl.
This affects any children that she may go on to have, with these undocumented marriages also meaning that she loses her rights, in addition to all the social, economic and human rights repercussions.
El-Kabbaj added that marrying girls in inappropriate and unsafe marriages, which is considered human trafficking, is a crime punishable under multiple laws, including the Law on children’s rights, the Personal Status Law, or the Penal Code in some cases.
She noted that the Ministry of Social Solidarity launched a conditional cash support programme called “Takaful and Dignity”, with the aim of improving family development indicators. This aimed to provide healthcare for children, as well as facilities for the mother’s reproductive health, and the enrolment of children to schools.
The ministry is focusing on developing social awareness to address all negative habits and practices including illiteracy, child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), and drug abuse. This aims to achieve family development and sustainable development across Egypt.
The ministry is also rehabilitating women and community leaders in villages and training about 20,000 women to empower them to play an effective role in educating their peers and changing negative behaviours in societies.