Cultural Practices in Africa
Still a Barrier to Girls’ Education in the 21st Century?
Culture has been identified as one of the pillars of sustainable development. However, it is well known that not all cultural elements are positive and that some cultural practices have an outright negative impact in the society. This paper examines some of the cultural practices in Africa that continue to be hindrances to girls’ education on the continent. These include female genital mutilation/cutting; early marriage and disco matanga. The paper recommends the need for evidence-based approaches to remove these barriers. This calls for more research to establish what works and what does not in eradicating these practices. For example, more success can be achieved through multistakeholder approaches by identifying the unique contribution each category of player can make in eradicating the vices. It also recommends ‘alternative rites of passage’, in the case of FGM which do not violate the integrity of the female body. Above all, the paper underlines that education is the most effective weapon against these practices and that if efforts where concentrated in enhancing girl education major strides towards eradicating these harmful cultural practises on the continent can be achieved.
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