‘Just a Girl’ Campaign Spotlights ‘The Silent Epidemic’ of Child Marriage in Nigeria

According to a new public awareness campaign from the SAGE Foundation, child marriage is an epidemic that has been allowed to sweep through countries like Nigeria, where at least 22 million child brides live today.

The campaign has released a hard-hitting short film created by Yassa Khan of Camp Productions and edited by Sam Hopkins, Lead Editor at Engine, that features young girls affected by this traumatic and widespread problem.

The film also features the women working to abolish the laws that allow this to happen and those who are educating these young women so that they can reclaim their futures.


As part of the campaign, SAGE is launching a petition to change legislation and ban child marriage in Nigeria. The petition, hosted via Change.org and launched in partnership with young activists It’s Never Your Fault, aims to reach 500,000 signatures.

According to the campaign, the numbers of children forced into marriage show no sign of slowing – with 44% of girls in Nigeria married before their 18th birthday. In Lagos State – considered to be one of Nigeria’s most developed – 44% of girls are married before their 16th birthday, according to the International Centre’s Investigative Report.

“At Sage Foundation, we focus on supporting grassroots organizations that elevate and empower women and girls, and ensure they have access to the quality education they deserve,” said Naza Alakija, Founder & CEO of the SAGE Foundation.


“We are deeply grateful to the brave girls that spoke to us about their experience of child marriage for our film JUST A GIRL. All of them were mothers, even though they were still children themselves. They all deserved a full life of learning and growth but felt it had been cut short and taken away from them. We worked with Bella Foundation to ensure they could go back to their education, but millions of young girls in Nigeria will be unable to return as soon as they become brides. One of the most effective ways to prevent child marriage is to keep girls in school, to allow them to reach their potential, and to show their societies and communities just what remarkable things they are capable of.”

Sam Hopkins, Lead Editor Engine added: “‘Just A Girl was a deeply affecting and immersive experience for me, something that I threw myself into. Seeing and hearing what these young girls have to go through is heart-breaking and, as an editor I wanted to help Yassa and SAGE create a powerful and compelling story that would not only raise awareness about the issues these girls face but also, to spur people into taking action and creating change.”

“Yassa’s approach visually was to create something visceral and contrasting, that would show the brutal and fragile nature of these stories but also ensure you paid attention to every word being said. That gave me the opportunity to really hone in on pacing, shot selection and technique when editing and create something that would do these stories justice. It’s a film and campaign I’m immensely proud to be a part of.”


Client: Sage Foundation
Naza Alakija, Founder & CEO Sage Foundation

Director/ Production Co: Yassa Khan at Camp Productions
Lead editor: Sam Hopkins
Exec Producer: Naza Alakija
Producer: Hayley Shepherd
DOP: Jed Darlington Roberts
Colorist: Adam Clarke
Composer: Charlie Smith
Sound Mix: Liam Conwell
Graphic Artwork: Yassa Khan

If you would like to sign the petition to ban Child Marriage in Nigeria, go here.

The Staff

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