Child Marriage Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1311 Words
Date:  2022-05-15


Across the globe, child marriage has been persistently practiced causing numerous negative effects on millions of girls. The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) defines child marriage as "the marriage undertaken before eighteen years." It is unfortunate that the practice has become common to the point that for every five girls, one is subjected to child marriage (Khanday, Shah, Mir & Parvaiz, 2015). This practice has been predominant in South Asia, Africa and South America, areas that already have a high population. Even though some regions have prohibited child marriage, society has continued to practice this routine, as if it is tolerated, because of gender inequality issues, poor education and high level of poverty. Actually, the United Nations (UN) has set a day when the plights of the girl child are highlighted. Of importance to this paper is to highlight on initiatives taken by NGOs and IGO to eradicate child marriage in Mozambique and India.

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Mozambique is one of the most affected countries by child marriage and does not favor this practice by every means. The engagement in child marriage is illegal in Mozambique, and for that reason, it is outlawed. The reason behind the illegality of the is that when young adults are involved in marriage before the stipulated age of eighteen, they often become pregnant and drop out of school a situation that leads to lack of education(Maswikwa, Richter, Kaufman & Nandi, 2015). Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that Mozambique still registers significantly high number of child marriage in Africa.

For every two girls, one is married before the age of eighteen in Mozambique. The northern part of the country has the highest rate of child marriage with more than 55 percent of girls married before the eighteenth birthday. Even though the percentage of child marriage has significantly reduced over the last decade, the population growth outpaces the advancement made leading to increasing number of girls married off (Vogelstein & Council on Foreign Relations, 2013).

The main contributors to child marriage in Mozambique revolve around adolescence pregnancy and the legal age of marriage. In the rural parts of the country, the vast majority of adolescent mothers are married in their teens. The legal age for anyone to get married is eighteen and sixteen with the parental consent. This has also contributed to the significantly high number of child marriage.


The national strategy for combating and preventing early childhood was launched in April 2016. Led by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Affairs, the strategy was created through a comprehensive process to involve different global agencies, donor partners, and Girls Not Brides Global. The ministry of social Action is mandated to coordinate and implement the national strategy aimed at reducing child marriage in Mozambique.

Girls Not Brides Global, Forward - UK, UNFPA, and UNICEF, are some of the non-governmental organizations that help in the fight against child marriage in Mozambique. Consolations are held in different high-prevalence in areas with the affected children, mothers and traditional groups to find a sustainable solution to the problem. The strategies of these IGOs and NGOs contains different primary pillars which include: improved access to education, sexual and productive health, communication and social mobilization initiatives, support for the married girls and improvement of the legal framework.


Statistics indicate that India has the highest number of child marriage in the world. An estimated 27 percent of girls in India are married off before the legal age of eighteen. There is a variation in child marriage between states. These figures vary as high as 69 percent in Bihar and 65 percent in Rajasthan. Over the last ten years, the country has witnessed a significant reduction in child marriage rate from 50 percent to 27 percent. Even though few Indian girls are being married before the fifteenth birthday, there has been an increase for girls between ages 15 to 18. The major contributor to this practice in India is the economic burden bestowed upon girls (Sagade, 2005). Marriage is seen as a transfer of this burden to the new husband. Similarly, high rates of poverty and marriage cost like dowry lead to earlier marriage to reduce the costs.

According to Caldwell, Reddy & Caldwell (2011), the control of women and girls is another influential factor in the practice of child marriage. The prevailing pressure towards child marriage aims at reducing the shame attached to improper female sexual behavior, leading to a marriage arranged at puberty. Lack of educational opportunities for girls living in rural parts of the country also makes the girls vulnerable to child marriage.


Since India has the highest number of child marriage rate, there are numerous intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations with the objective of finding a sustainable solution towards child marriage. These include;

Centre for Action Research and People's Development (CARPED): This organization works with the locals in promoting areas for comprehensive children development. The group focuses on policy making and for that purpose confronts with numerous critical issues and helps missing kids reach their homes. At the same time, it fights the conventional tradition of child marriages and intervenes on problematic issues and community mobilization.

Centre for Child Rights in New Delhi: This NGO is focused towards the recognition, promotion, and protection of children rights and holistically approaches children issues. The organization's objective is to propel child right to mainstream development efforts and place it as the center of national debate. Through its objective, the organization has been vocal in the fight against child marriage.

Terre des Hommes: A global children right's charitable organization with the aim of ensuring equitable development with no racial, political, cultural or gender-based discrimination. Terre des Hommes has been fundamental towards the control of child marriage in India.

MacArthur Foundation: This foundation has partnered directly with a different set of institutions in India to promote maternal and reproductive health. At the same time, it has a remarkable role improving access to quality education for the girl child through the girl secondary education program. This has significantly reduced the rate of child marriage in India for the last decade.

Child marriage has gained significant attention in the global realm over the last decade with donors across the globe increasingly understanding the need to put initiatives to reduce it. The prevailing evidence indicates that child marriage prevention initiatives are now deep and wide and that these initiatives are not only heading towards addressing child marriage but also integration and cross-sectional cooperation. These initiatives aim at addressing cultural and behavior change which, are the foundation of child marriage practice across the globe (Lemmon, 2014).


The practice of child marriage is of great concern since it infringes on girls right to education programs and quality health. India has the highest child marriage rate in the world with a long list of economic and social demands. Mozambique is another country with a significantly high proportion of girls who are married off before the age of eighteen. Nevertheless, there are intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental agencies that have spread awareness on the detriments attached to underage marriages, and for that reason, the prevalence is decreasing.


Caldwell, J. C., Reddy, P. H., & Caldwell, P. (2011). The causes of marriage change in South India. Population studies, 37(3), 343-361.

Khanday, M. I., Shah, B. A., Mir, P. A., & Parvaiz, R. (2015). Empowerment of women in India-historical perspective. European Academic Research, 2(11), 14494-505.

Lemmon, G. T. E. L. S. (2014). Child brides, global consequences: How to end child marriage. New York: Council On Foreign Relations.

Maswikwa, B., Richter, L., Kaufman, J., & Nandi, A. (2015). Minimum marriage age laws and the prevalence of child marriage and adolescent birth: evidence from sub-Saharan Africa. International perspectives on sexual and reproductive health, 41(2), 58-68.

Sagade, J. (2005). Child marriage in India: socio-legal and human rights dimensions. Oxford University Press, USA.

Vogelstein, R., & Council on Foreign Relations. (2013). Ending child marriage: How elevating the status of girls advances U.S. foreign policy objectives.

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