Credit: Gethin Chamberlain

How climate change is creating more child brides

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In Malawi and Mozambique, girls as young as thirteen are being forced to become child brides as a result of climate change

Everyone thinks they know what climate change looks like. It is that polar bear adrift on its ice floe. It is melting glaciers and rising sea levels. It is an apocalyptic future of cities disappearing beneath the waves. The story of climate change tends to be one of a coming catastrophe, of signs of trouble further down the track.

But what if the human disaster is already happening, hidden in full view? What if it is the young girl sitting in the doorway of her mud hut in in a small African village, nursing her first baby as she watches her friends trot off to school? What if climate change is already creating a generation of child brides?

The Brides Of The Sun reporting project travelled to Malawi and Mozambique to investigate and found widespread evidence of child marriage a result of the changing weather. Due to rising temperatures hitting families in Africa hard and crops failing amid more frequent droughts and flooding, millions of girls are reported to be forced to become child brides.

The investigation, funded by the European Journalism Centre, found many parents who relied on farming or fishing could no longer afford to feed and educate their daughters and instead were marrying them off early to young men better placed to support them.

In 2015, Unicef warned  that the total number of child brides across Africa as a whole could more than double to 310 million by 2050 if current trends continue, and the problem is of course not limited to one continent alone.

The team at Brides Of The Sun gave some of the child brides video cameras, so that they could record a 360 video selfie of what climate change has done to the land around them and how it has affected their lives.

The girls also shared their individual stories with the Brides of the Sun team.

The reporters behind Brides Of The Sun are Gethin Chamberlain, Maria Udrescu and Miriam Beller

Compiled by Victoria Fell

Image credit: Gethin Chamberlain
Image credit: Gethin Chamberlain
Image credit: Gethin Chamberlain
Image credit: Gethin Chamberlain

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