Child marriage

The drivers of child marriage are resources and benefits. In order to understand the opportunities for change a pilot project was implemented by N’weti with supported from UNICEF between March 2018 and December 2019: Community Dialogues - an approach to prevent child marriage in rural communities” (henceforth “the Project”). The Project was carried out in four districts of Nampula Province (Rapale, Monapo, Angoche and Nacala Velha). The purpose was to pilot the Community Dialogues approach for prevention of child marriage, increase awareness of the risks and disadvantages of child marriage and encourage rethinking of the tradition of marrying off girls soon after they start menstruating.

A case study was conducted on beneficiary opinion on their participation in the Community Dialogues and it was possible to ascertain that parents, who are keen to marry off their daughters, seek to lessen their own burden of providing for their family. They may also hope that the future son-in-law contributes to their household. What was often mentioned during the study, was the fear that an unmarried daughter would get pregnant and increase her parents’ already heavy burden of maintenance. Hence, there are strong motives to marry off daughters right after the initiation ritual, i.e. after she starts menstruating. On this background, the objective of preventing child marriage seems like an unsurmountable endeavor. Yet, as we heard from many, things are changing, slowly but nevertheless changing.

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