Today FORWARD (an African womens campaign and support organisation) launches the research ‘No Girl Should Be a Child Bride: Taking Action to End Child Marriage in Lay Armachiho District, Amhara Region, Ethiopia’ which provides a unique insight into the lives of girls who are married before the age of 18.
One of the young women interviewed in the research said: “Child marriage is bitter and mean. I faced so many issues being a child bride. I was 12 when I got married and 17 when I had my first baby. Childbirth was painful for me, I had to go to the hospital and have a caesarean section. My child did not survive.”
The report uncovers girls’ understandings of the causes of child marriage and looks at the consequences of child marriage on girls’ day to day lives as well as on their future and developmental potential.
Another one of the girls from the research notes that: “For men it is an honour to marry a child, because they say ‘we got her clean and in her innocence’.”
The report is part of a project in partnership with FORWARD and ProFutures Development Initiative entitled ‘Taking Action to End Child Marriage in Ethiopia’. The project aims to prevent child marriage while simultaneously improving the lived realities of girls who are already married. FORWARD’s Executive Director, Naana Otoo-Oyortey notes that: “The findings from the research reaffirm the need to adopt a holistic approach to tackling child marriage. This should be based on tackling poverty and gender inequality and proving sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and support for child mothers and child brides. There were many commitments made to address Child, Early and Forced Marriage (ECFM) at the recent high profile UK Government Girls Summit. FORWARD calls on the UK Government to support grassroots organisations in order to ensure sustainable change and to make those commitments a reality.”