"Child Brides: Stolen Lives" is a one-hour documentary from NOW, the weekly newsmagazine on PBS. NOW's production team traveled to Niger, India and Guatemala to report on a global custom that devastates lives and keeps communities from prospering.
By the end of this lesson, students will:
- Acquire additional information about the issue of child marriage
- Explore issues of gender discrimination
- Learn about community-based solutions
- Understand the role of education
Show students the film "Child Brides: Stolen Lives" (55 minutes). Afterwards, lead the class in one of the following activities - either small group or full class.
Small Group Activity: 20 minutes
Understand the societal and generational impact of child marriage.
Conduct Full Class Discussion of Group Findings:
- Draw three concentric circles and label them from inner to outer: child bride, family, and community.
- List the consequences of child marriage for the girl (early and risky pregnancy, social isolation, lack of education, few life skills, risk of HIV/AIDS, etc.).
- List the consequences of child marriage for the family (malnourishment, infant mortality, less likely that children will attend school, etc.).
- List the consequences of child marriage for a community (loss of a vocal active member when young mother is isolated at home, political participation, fewer female role models, women as peace-makers, etc.).
- Draw another set of circles and list the consequences for a girl who marries later and stays in school (smaller, healthier, and better educated families, better protection, increased wages, break the cycle of poverty and sickness, etc.).
Full Class Activity Options: 20 minutes each
A. Understanding the Strength of Community-Based Strategies to End Child Marriage
- Compare the two circles and review the role of inter-generation consequences of education or not educating a girl.
- Discuss what is meant when development experts speak of "cascading effects" of girls' education.
- Review the solutions and the role of activists presented in the film:
What is the rationale behind each strategy? How do these strategies address community and family inclinations towards child marriage? How is each strategy suited for the particular community?
- Niger: changing attitudes of leadership and the sensitization brigade
- India: intervening local administrators and boarding schools
- Guatemala: mentoring girls and encouraging self-esteem
On a chalkboard, list the advantages and disadvantages of the strategy (cost, risks, family separation, abuse of authority, etc)
Do you expect long-term success with these strategies? Which do you favor?
What personal traits do the activists share? How do they exhibit leadership?
B. Understanding Global Partnerships as Solutions
- On a chalkboard, list the various individuals and organizations working to prevent child marriage (family, teachers, community leaders, local and national government, international organizations, UNICEF, UN, etc.).
- What partnerships are needed for the strategy to function (community, family, government, international organizations, etc.)?
- What is the role of international legislation? What role do countries play in prevention? How do community strategies reflect particular traditions? Can these strategies be replicated worldwide?
- What would an ideal campaign address child marriage look like? How would these individual and organizations interact?
- Assign participation grades for class discussion.
- Assign completion grades for exercise in small group activity.
Sociology, Political Science, World Affairs, Women's Studies
Estimated Time Needed:
Two 50-minute class periods
RELEVANT NATIONAL STANDARDS:
Listening and Speaking
Standard 8: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
Standard 10: Understands the characteristics and components of the media
Thinking and Reasoning
Standard 1: Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting and argument
Working With Others
Standard 4: Displays effective interpersonal communication skills