UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Angélique Kidjo has rallied support towards promoting the education of the gild child and ending child marriages in Africa, saying it is crucial for the continent’s development.
Kidjo made the remarks in a video broadcast on the occasion of the side-event of the African Union Summit organized by the First Lady of the Republic of Niger,. Lalla Malika Issoufou, and the Government of Niger, with the support of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and United Nations partners.
“We need to change mentalities, we need to talk to families, we need our Governments involved to preserve and protect the girl’s future…,” Kidjo said.
“The number of girls getting married, as we speak, is growing up, after all the work we’ve done. I call on every stakeholder that works with children and adolescents to put our resources together to preserve the girls, to protect them and to give them a future.
“Our governments need to come on board and talk to us and together, we can find long-lasting solutions for a girl to go to school, to decide her own path, to decide her own future and to decide when she wants to have a child and who to marry.”
Kidjo, a West African singer and songwriter, was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador on 25 July 2002.
She was born in Benin and began her career at age six by performing in her mother’s theatre troupe. In 1983, due to Benin’s unstable political climate, she moved to Paris where she studied jazz.
She is multilingual, speaking and singing in English, French, Yoruba and Fon, the native language of Benin.