() Alongside neighboring states Mali, Libya and Nigeria, Niger had seemed like an anchor of stability.After a coup in 2010, things seemed to be moving forward again.It will take her another four years to finish her education - and then maybe, just maybe, her parents will let Zeinabou choose her own partner.

Child marriages, according to the international Convention on the Rights of the Child, constitute forced marriages and are outlawed.

The consequences of early marriages can be devastating: An end to an education which could offer girls a better chance of escaping poverty and illiteracy, as well health problems, including complications following painful births for which their teenage bodies are not yet ready.

She was forced to abruptly end her schooling in order to become her parents’ neighbor’s second wife.

Although she didn’t really know anything about sex, Zeinabou said, she did have at least a vague notion of the male anatomy, thanks to several friends.

Niger has the one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world.

In some rural areas, girls are still considered to be heir parents’ property.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains low on this year's UN Human Development Index.

But economic growth in these countries means they could be in a position to provide social security to the most vulnerable, experts suggest.

She had run away no fewer than four times, spent a night hidden away in a derelict house, even escaped to the local capital - only to be beaten by her parents and returned to her husband.

And so, when Mustafa Sanoussi, the husband she didn't want, tried to force himself upon her following her last futile escape, she bit his penis, hard. Child Marriages 'are forced marriages' Zeinabou is one of countless Nigerien children, some as young as ten or eleven, who are taken out of school and married off every year in Niger.

"It's a universal right enshrined in international law," said Zakari and yet Zeinabou Moussa had to fight for it so desperately.