We only use your email address to send you the newsletter and to see how many people are opening our emails. A full privacy policy can be viewed here. You can change your mind at any time and update your preferences or unsubscribe.

15-year-old girl who was married when she was 12 in Amhara, Ethiopia. Photo: Nathalie Bertrams/GAGE

Child marriage risks in the context of covid-19 in Ethiopia

29.07.20 | Ethiopia

Bodily integrity and freedom from violence | COVID-19 | Child marriage

Authors

Nicola Jones, Yitagesu Gebeyehu, Kiya Gezahegne, Abreham Iyasu, Fitsum Workneh and Workneh Yadete

Ethiopia has seen one of the most significant declines in sub-Saharan Africa in the proportion of girls married before their 18th birthday over the last decade, falling from approximately 50% in the mid-2000s to 40.3% by 2016. However, the overall number of girls who marry before adulthood remains within the top five countries globally, with an estimated 2 million child brides. In order to build on the momentum achieved to date and in line with Sustainable Development Goal 5.3 on the elimination of child marriage, the government of Ethiopia launched a comprehensive National Roadmap to End Child Marriage and FGM/C in 2019, there are significant concerns now, however, that with the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic and closure of educational institutions during the resulting state of emergency, which is set to last until the end of August 2020, these gains could be undermined. Girls Not Brides (2020:1) has highlighted at a global level that ‘Many of the complex factors that drive child marriage in stable environments are exacerbated in emergency settings, as family and community structures break down during crisis and displacement’ and that progress in reducing child marriage is now under threat as a result of the pandemic.

To explore the short-term effects of the pandemic and resulting policy response on adolescents’ risks of child marriage, this policy brief draws on rapid virtual qualitative research from the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal research sample in Afar, Amhara and Oromia regions of Ethiopia. A total of 138 adolescent girls and boys aged 13-19 years were interviewed by phone using a semi-structured format in May and June 2020. These were complemented by 31 key informant interviews with officials from the bureaus of health, education and women, children and youth affairs, emergency and food security, and kebele officials in each locality.

Suggested citation

Jones, N., Gebeyehu, Y., Gezahegne, K., Iyasu, A., Workneh, F. and Yadete, W. (2020) ‘Listening to young people’s voices under covid-19. Child marriage risks in the context of covid-19 in Ethiopia.’ Policy brief. London: Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence.


Related publications

Journal articles
03.08.22
COVID-19 and the gendered impacts on adolescent wellbeing: Evidence from a cross-sectional study of locally adapted measures in Ethiopia, Jordan, and Palestine
Across GAGE capabilities
Ethiopia | Jordan
Read more
03.08.22 | Across GAGE capabilities | Journal articles | Ethiopia
COVID-19 and the gendered impacts on adolescent wellbeing: Evidence from a cross-sectional study of locally adapted measures in Ethiopia, Jordan, and Palestine
Read more
Journal articles
28.07.22
COVID-19, state (in)visibility and structural violence in low- and middle-income countries
Economic empowerment
Bangladesh | Ethiopia
Read more
28.07.22 | Economic empowerment | Journal articles | Bangladesh
COVID-19, state (in)visibility and structural violence in low- and middle-income countries
Read more
Journal articles
14.07.22
Improving Menstrual Health Literacy Through Life-Skills Programming in Rural Ethiopia
Sexual reproductive health and nutrition
Ethiopia
Read more
14.07.22 | Sexual reproductive health and nutrition | Journal articles | Ethiopia
Improving Menstrual Health Literacy Through Life-Skills Programming in Rural Ethiopia
Read more