Image of two women posing together for a selfie in a classroom Photo Credit: Association Pour l'Epanouissement des Jeunes et des Femmes

Association Pour l’Epanouissement des Jeunes et des Femmes

Niger has the highest rate of child marriage in the world.

Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in Hausa. It is also the name of the terrorist group in West Africa.

The Boko Haram crisis has forced 1.4 million children to flee their homes. The Diffa region in Niger alone hosts 260,000 refugees and displaced people. This is where Association Pour l’ Épanouissement des Jeunes et des Femmes (APEJF) operates.

APEJF is one of two grantees that VOW funds that helps support refugees from the continued impact and influence of Boko Haram. APEJF’s work focuses on girls who have experienced trauma as a result of the ongoing conflict. Its goal: keep girls in school and delay child marriage.

The link between education and the prevalence of child marriage is particularly evident in Niger: 81% of women aged 20-24 with no education and 63% with only primary education were married or in union at age 18, compared to only 17% of women with secondary education or higher (Source: UNICEF).

APEJF provides school scholarships and school supplies to girls at risk of child marriage. They have also created a safe space for girls to better know their rights, their options and their world. APEJF leads field trips for girls to other regions to visit with young girl leaders not impacted by Boko Haram and conducts conversations on sexual and reproductive health.

In the end, education is helping girls in Niger resist child marriage and build their resilience to the unimaginable tragedy inflicted by Boko Haram.

100% of the funds we raise are invested in underfunded local efforts in communities around the world that advance girls’ rights.