Zambia has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world with 42% of women aged 20-24 years married by the age of 18.
Owing to the above facts, early child marriage has currently become a vital topic of discussion amongst several development platforms which has made it more visible to many that were unaware of its existence. Former first lady, Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata on the 10th of June 2014 in The Times of Zambia outlined that child marriage presented a serious challenge to development and needed to be criminalized. Later, Inonge Wina, Minister of Gender at the time, now Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, reinforced Dr Kaseba’s remarks in The Post Newspaper dated 19th November 2014 by declaring child marriage a national crisis and also calling for its criminalization in Zambia.
Recently, First Lady Esther Lungu at the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS(OAFLA) summit highlighted that the scenario of early marriages and pregnancies had become worrisome and that as first ladies, their goal was to try and find ways to eliminate or reduce early marriages and teen pregnancies. She further emphasised that as first ladies their agenda was advocacy for a free Africa with no child marriages.