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Child marriage in Ethiopia: a review of the evidence and an analysis of the prevalence of child marriage in hotspot districts

Research reports

Written by Paola Pereznieto, Nicola Jones

Hero image description: Schoolgirls in Eastern Ethiopia, Oromia Image credit:ODI/David Walker

Child marriage is a widespread practice affecting both the physical and psychological wellbeing and development of millions of girls in Ethiopia. There is growing momentum – globally and in Ethiopia – to increase efforts to bring an end to child marriage, acknowledging that the practice is a violation of human rights.

Most recently, the Ethiopian Government has committed to ending child marriage by 2025 and has helped establish the National Alliance to End Child Marriage. Part of the alliance’s efforts includes a national mapping study to better understand the patterning and trends of child marriage in the country, and in turn inform future programming efforts.

Preparatory to this national mapping, this review summarises the current state of the evidence base in regard to:

• the incidence and patterning of child marriage across Ethiopia,
• the impacts of child marriage,
• the national drivers of child marriage, and
• current practices aimed at the abandonment of child marriage.

This research was commissioned by UNICEF Ethiopia and the National Alliance to End Child Marriage in Ethiopia by 2025, spearheaded by the Ethiopian Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs.

Elizabeth Presler Marshall, Minna Lyytikainen and Nicola Jones with Andrew Montes, Paola Pereznieto and Bekele Tefera