“She Cannot Just Sit Around Waiting to Turn Twenty” Understanding Why Child Marriage Persists in Kenya and Zambia

April 20, 2017
Authors: Steinhaus, M., Gregowski, A., Stevanovic Fenn, N., Petroni, S.
Organization: International Center for Research on Women

Through an in-depth qualitative research approach in Kenya and Zambia, the International Center for Research on Women endeavored to 1) explore and document the contextual factors that both promote and prevent child marriage; and 2) understand the process by which adolescent girls get married.  Interviews revealed that parents and community members are opposed to child marriage but that socioeconomic factors often lead to pregnancy or school drop-out–the primary precursors to child marriage.  Findings from the study are summarized in a conceptual framework and tied to a series of recommendations including the need for innovation and adaptation of existing programs to meet the unique needs of adolescent girls and the importance of the findings from the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing to guarantee and support “access to free, quality secondary education” as the “single best investment for health and wellbeing” for all adolescents.