Attaining primary and secondary school education for girls in Liberia remains a major challenge. Girls aged below 10 years are pulled out of formal education, by traditionalists, and forced to take part in traditional female initiation ceremonies in informal settings locally known as bush schools. As a consequence, nearly half of women in Liberia are illiterate, according to United Nations statistics. However a programme supported by the United Nations Human rights office is engaging with some of the rural communities in Liberia to encourage them to allow girls to complete formal education. One county, the Grand Cape Mount has been successful in convincing traditionalists to stop pulling girls out of school, for initiation.
The government of Malawi should increase efforts to end widespread child and forced marriage, or risk worsening poverty, illiteracy, and preventable maternal deaths in the country.
According to government statistics, half of the girls in Malawi will be married by their 18th birthday, with some as young as age 9 or 10 being forced to marry. Malawi faces many economic challenges, but the rights of girls and women, including the right to education, should not be sacrificed as a result.