Africa: Goats, chickens, and schoolbooks can prevent child marriage

| August 31, 2015

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Child marriage can be prevented by simple interventions, according to recent research conducted in sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers found that school supplies for girls, and owning farm livestock such as chickens and goats provided families with economic incentives to delay marrying off their daughters and keep them in school.

Annabel Erulkar is the lead researcher and Ethiopia Country Director for the Population Council, which conducted the study. She says, “When families and communities recognize the harms of child marriage and have economic alternatives, they will delay the age at which their daughters get married.”

The Population Council ran three year-trials in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. It found that incentives such as school supplies and livestock dramatically reduced the likelihood that children would marry.

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Photo: Children sing a song of welcome at a primary school in Dagahale, one of several refugee settlements in Dadaab, Garissa County, northeastern Kenya, October 9, 2013. Credit: REUTERS/Siegfried Modola