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The bride is prepared for the wedding by having her face decorated with pale red crosses and pastel-colored dots on her cheeks.
Both she and the groom will have their hands and feet decorated with henna; the henna symbolizes purity and fertility.
It is important to note that people of many different tribes make up the Niger culture and thus their own flavor of African wedding rituals differ accordingly.
Among the nomadic Tuaregs, if a young man is interested in a girl, he will sneak up to her in the tent which she shares with her parents and tickle her ear.
In Niger that word is only applied to men who have sex with girls outside of marriage, said Idrissa Djibrilla, head of the Niger branch of Defence for Children International (DCI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
“Here we only talk about paedophilia when sex happens outside marriage,” Djibrilla said.
However, only 23 of Nigeria’s 36 states have taken concrete steps to implement the minimum age of marriage.
When her family promised her to a middle-aged man in Nigeria when Balkissa was only 12, it wasn't the marriage that scared her the most—it was being forced to quit her education. If she could just stay in school for five more years, she would get married at 17.But before her 15th birthday she had lost the baby - and her husband.Hadjo's anatomy proved unready for the task of delivering a baby and after an excruciating three-day labour, the unborn foetus was cut out of her, stillborn.Fifteen-year-old Hadjo Garbo’s child-like features belie a history more tragic and life-altering than many adults four times her age will have experienced.Two years ago this petite girl, who likes to fiddle with her elaborately braided hair and once dreamed of being a housewife, was married to one of the older men in her village in the Dosso region of southwest Niger. The marriage was consummated, and by 14 she was pregnant with her first child.