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Girls share a meal at the Friendship Primary school in Zinder, Niger on June 1, 2012. (ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/GettyImages)

Dead Last

Why Niger is the worst place in the world for girls

November 1, 2016

Niger is the worst place in the world to grow up as a girl, according to a new report by Save The Children. Released last month, the report looked at five different indicators, including child marriage and adolescent fertility rates, for 144 countries. The bottom 20 can all be found in Sub-Saharan Africa. With 76 percent of women married before their 18th birthday — often due to their family’s extreme poverty — and one in five adolescent girls giving birth each year, the country is a dangerous place for young women and girls. Girls who get married young are less likely to complete their education and more likely to fall victim to domestic abuse, while complications due to pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for adolescent girls globally.

One of those girls is Ramatou, a 13-year-old girl who lives in Niger with her mother and seven siblings. She told Save The Children in an interview that she is facing increasing pressure to get married, particularly after her father was injured in a traffic accident and could no longer provide for his family. With the help of Save The Children, however, she was able to resist, but many other challenges remain. Her family mostly lives off rice and pasta, unable to afford meat or fish and sometimes has no food at all. Ramatou started school at the eligible age, but dropped out when she got sick. She now hopes to learn to sew in order to help out her family. “I wish I could go to school and get an education,” she said. “It would allow me to develop myself, to have a job and help my family.”

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.


U.S. falls short on ranking of best countries for young girls