Child Marriage

Improving the Lives of Married, Adolescent Girls in Amhara, Ethiopia

Improving the Lives of Married, Adolescent Girls in Amhara, Ethiopia

Jeffrey Edmeades and Robin Hayes, with Gillian Gaynair
2014

Today, there are nearly 70 million child brides world­wide, with an estimated 142 million more destined for early marriage over the next decade. Child marriage violates girls’ basic human rights and brings their child­hoods to a swift end.
 
This harmful practice is most common in developing nations and is particularly pervasive across South Asia and Africa, where 50 to 70 percent of girls in some countries are wed before age 18. In societies where girls are valued less than boys, marrying girls as young as 10 years old is routinely deemed a smart economic transaction for poor parents, who, upon their daughter’s marriage, will have one less child to support and may receive “bride price” – money or property – from the groom’s family.
 
In Amhara, Ethiopia and elsewhere around the globe, many child brides have little or no have access to reproduc­tive health information or services, and thus endure a slew of health problems that further cripple their ability to grow into healthy, productive women. They are at greater risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. They face complications – and death – as a result of early pregnancy and childbearing. Further, children born to child brides are more likely to experience death, malnutrition, stunting and ongoing health problems than those born to mothers just a few years older.
 
These tragic consequences of child marriage not only impact individual girls’ lives; they also severely under­mine global progress on a variety of goals, including ending poverty, ensuring universal access to education and sexual and reproductive health, and strengthening economies.
 
This report is a summary of ICRW's evaluation of a groundbreaking program implemented by CARE Ethiopia, which sought to mitigate the effects of child marriage.
(2.29 MB)

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The TESFA Project: Empowering Ethiopian Child Brides

The groundbreaking program, “Towards Economic and Sexual Reproductive Health Outcomes for Adolescent Girls” or TESFA, sought to improve the lives of 5,000 child brides ages 10 to 19, in Ethiopia’s rural Amhara region. 

The groundbreaking program, “Towards Economic and Sexual Reproductive Health Outcomes for Adolescent Girls” or TESFA, sought to improve the lives of 5,000 child brides ages 10 to 19, in Ethiopia’s rural Amhara region. Implemented by CARE-Ethiopia over three years and evaluated by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), TESFA sought to mitigate the effects of child marriage.

Ann Warner: How Education Can Deter Child Marriage

Devex

Ann Warner, ICRW's Senior Youth and Gender Specialist, talks to Devex about how households need to work with community members to develop alernatives to marriage for adolescent girls, including investing in education.

Ann Warner, ICRW's Senior Youth and Gender Specialist, talks to Devex about how households need to work with community members to develop alernatives to marriage for adolescent girls, including investing in education.

Ann Warner: How education can deter child marriage

Ann Warner, ICRW's Senior Youth and Gender Specialist, talks to Devex about how households need to work with community members to develop alernatives to marriage for adolescent girls, including investing in education.

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Girls 'Treated as Cattle': Child Brides Divide Pakistan

NBC News

A proposed law in Pakistan would increase the punishment for community members involved in child marriage. ICRW's Ann Warner, Senior Gender and Youth Specialist, describes how child marriage puts girls at risk in Pakistan and around the world.

A proposed law in Pakistan would increase the punishment for community members involved in child marriage. ICRW's Ann Warner, Senior Gender and Youth Specialist, describes how child marriage puts girls at risk in Pakistan and around the world.

Changing Course in Ethiopia

An innovative program in Amhara, Ethiopia is employing new strategies, such as lessons on sexual and reproductive health, to help keep girls in school and away from the marriage altar. ICRW is set to begin a two year evaluation of the effort in the region, known for high child marriage rates. 

On a recent visit to the Amhara region of Ethiopia, I met Bruktawit, a 27-year-old primary school teacher who exemplifies what it takes to keep young girls in school: intense commitment, personal sacrifice and a deeply rooted belief that young girls deserve an education.

It's Time to Unleash Girls' Potential

Devex

Girls have the power to transform the world, but they face many barriers along the way, including violence and early marriage. In this blog for Devex, ICRW's President, Sarah Degnan Kambou, writes about several initiatives that are working to break down barriers and lift up girls for generations to come. 

Girls have the power to transform the world, but they face many barriers along the way, including violence and early marriage. In this blog for Devex, ICRW's President, Sarah Degnan Kambou, writes about several initiatives that are working to break down barriers and lift up girls for generations to come. 

No Longer an Afterthought: Girls' Rights in the Next Development Framework

Lyric Thompson, Senior Policy Manager at ICRW, blogs about opening week at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, gaps within the MDGs and poses recommendations for the next development framework to include concrete targets to improve the status and rights of girls worldwide.

It’s opening week at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, always a frenetic time when thousands of women’s rights activists and member state delegations descend upon New York to review the current state of affairs for women and girls globally and recommend actions states can take to advance gender equality and promote female empowerment.

PRESS RELEASE: ICRW Honors International Women’s Day, Presents New Findings

ICRW today will commemorate International Women’s Day with a high level panel discussion at the National Press Club, where it will also release initial findings from its evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program in India created to prevent child marriage and increase girls’ value in society. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 5, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) today will commemorate International Women’s Day with a high level panel discussion at the National Press Club, where it will also release initial findings from its evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program in India created to prevent child marriage and increase girls’ value in society.

The discussion will explore dimensions of adolescent girls’ education and transition to adulthood, and why it is crucial to place them at the heart of the development agenda. The panel will include speakers from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Nike Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations and ICRW.

A highlight of ICRW’s findings from its study conducted in the Indian state of Haryana, will be shared during the discussion.  Launched in 1994, the program – called Apni Beti Apna Dhan (Our Daughter, Our Wealth) or ABAD – registered a cash bond to families living below the poverty line who enrolled their newborn daughters at the time of birth. Enrolled girls could cash their bond upon their 18th birthday on the condition they had remained unmarried. The first group of ABAD participants turned 18 in 2012.

The evaluation results illuminate the impact the program has had on the participants’ lives, including an increase in educational attainment in a region where adolescent girls often drop out of school well before their 18th birthday to marry.The groundbreaking study, “Impact on Marriage: Program Assessment of Conditional Cash Transfers (IMPACCT),” is funded by USAID. Further research findings on the ABAD schemes impact on girls’ lives and delaying their age at marriage will be released over the course of the next two years. 

“International Women’s Day is the perfect time to bring together experts in the field and share research on how to best serve adolescent girls and advance gender equality worldwide,” ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou said. “Between our findings and the impressive experiences brought by our expert panel, I think we will be contributing to and hopefully influencing the global discourse on gender equality. Through applied research, we are able to indicate a pathway to what is most effective in designing policies that yield real and significant results.”

Event proceeds will go to ICRW’s Turning Point Campaign, whose aim is to help change the course for adolescent girls worldwide through evidence-based advocacy.

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Note to Editors:

Panelists

Julie Katzman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, the Inter-American Development Bank (Moderator)

Carla Koppell, Chief Strategy Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Priya Nanda,Group Director, Reproductive Health and Economic Rights, and Project Director, IMPACCT, ICRW Asia Regional Office

Howard Taylor, Vice President and Managing Director, Nike Foundation 

Rachel Vogelstein, Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations, and Director of Women and Girls Programs, Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Clinton Foundation

Media Contact: 
Iba Dervishaj 202.542.0422
Mission Statement: 

For nearly 40 years, ICRW has been the premier applied research institute focused on women and girls. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in South Asia and Africa, ICRW provides evidence-based research to inform programs and policies that help alleviate poverty, promote gender equality and protect the rights of women and girls. 

ICRW featured on Press the President

Ahead of International Women's Day, ICRW's Suzanne Petroni, Senior Director, Gender, Population, and Development spoke to Press the President on the issue of child marriage, and highlighted facts and figures not commonly known.

Ahead of International Women's Day, ICRW's Suzanne Petroni, Senior Director, Gender, Population, and Development spoke to Press the President on the issue of child marriage, and highlighted facts and figures not commonly known. View video interview and article.

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