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Tall as the Baobab Tree

Tall as the Baobab Tree poignantly depicts a family struggling to find its footing on the edge of the modern world fraught with tensions between tradition and modernity. Coumba and her little sister Debo are the first to leave their family's remote African village, where meals are prepared over open fires and water is drawn from wells, to attend school in the bustling city. But when an accident suddenly threatens their family's survival, their father decides to sell 11-year-old Debo into an arranged marriage. Torn between loyalty to her elders and her dreams for the future, Coumba hatches a secret plan to rescue her younger sister from a future she did not choose.

Child marriage is almost always forced marriage. It disrupts girls' education, and exposes them to domestic violence and preventable health crises. To protect the rights of women and girls, Human Rights Watch has recently joined with other groups to call for the elimination of child marriage. Utilising field-based research in more than 10 countries on this abuse, Human Rights Watch has urged governments worldwide to set 18 as the minimum age for marriage and to verify that both spouses provide full and meaningful consent to the partnership.