Presentation on theme: "Basic Life Options for Girls; Address Early Marriage project in Upper Egypt Research on communication dynamic and decision making in families in Menya."— Presentation transcript:
Basic Life Options for Girls; Address Early Marriage project in Upper Egypt Research on communication dynamic and decision making in families in Menya Governorate March- May 2014
Basic Life Options for Girls project: Menya Governorate/Upper EGYPT This Ford funded project aims at improvement of knowledge, skills of the adolescents and encourage healthy lifestyles, raise awareness about the laws for child protection and rights Increase community capacities to seek information and make decisions that benefit children through piloting innovative community- based initiatives in selected areas in Menya Governorate/Upper Egypt. Empowering families and communities through social mobilization and communication for behavioral change is one of the project's core strategies. Families and communities will be provided with knowledge and skills for better care and protection of their children. This project will pull together a range of stakeholders and develop collaborative relationships amongst the civil society organizations, private and public sector. Data-driven and evidence-based advocacy will be undertaken to address the core issue of early marriage’s high-impact on health.
Introduction Age at Marriage is one of the factors influencing the on-going fertility decline in Egypt has been the steady increase in the age at which women marry. Adolescent childbearing carries higher risks of morbidity and mortality for the mother and child, particularly when the mother is under age 18y old. At the time of the 2008 EDHS,10-14 % of women age 15-19 had given birth or were pregnant with their first child.
At present, there is a serious lack of data on all aspects of early marriage. Digest has underlined, the sources of information that do exist have examined early marriage in terms of demographic trends, fertility, and educational attainment. However there is no a well-known study about decision making, family dialogue and the factors that affecting decision taking regarding girls education and marriage.
There are as yet very few studies that have examined the practice from a human rights perspective, in terms of trends or its impact on wives, husbands, families, or the wider society. These gaps need to be filled urgently. The absence of data on the psychosocial impact of early marriage on children, and the ways in which this interacts with wider social and economic consequences, is in particular need of remedy.
Objectives of the survey: Adolescent childbearing carries higher risks of morbidity and mortality for the mother and child, particularly when the mother is under age 18. At the time of the 2008 EDHS, 10-14 per-cent of women age 15-19 had given birth or were pregnant with their first child.
This research will explore the family decision making dynamics and the influential members who take the decision for girls early marriage and education. Identify the decision maker/s in the family Factors influence Decisions in the family Relationship between the family members gender dynamic in the family that affect early marriage relationship between brother /sister
Time table: The first stage involved preparatory activities, including designing the criteria for selection of target audiences and discussed the logistic preparation with umbrella organization, the 6 CDAs coordinators and CDAs board to recruit and select the study participants according to the developed criteria. At the same time, the survey questionnaires were developed, pretested for culture sensitivity, and finalized. The fieldwork started after selection of reporters and study was implemented in two phases due to security instability in Menya Governorate. The focus of the final stage of the survey was analyzing the data and preparing the report.
SURVEY DESIGN: This study was conducted as a qualitative study using Focus Group discussions with probing questions. Development of FGDs questionnaires. Selection of FGDs: Random sampling of families from population that is mostly not participating in our project activities. Interviews are the tool used commonly in qualitative research. However, the cultural norms and practices of interviewees were considered to ensure that an appropriate interviewing style is used, a good interviewee-interviewer relationship formed. Full respect to cultural norms and the respondent’s knowledge of interview. Verbal approval audio recorded consent in the presence of a witness was considered equal to written agreement.
Criteria of selection of family: parents, boy and girl (Age 11-18 years old ) from population who are not involved in early marriage project activities. A total of 38 families were selected to be interviewed in this survey. Sites: total 6 villages 4 in Abu korkas and 2 in East Nile 5-6 families in each village and 10 families from Bani - Ebed. (its population is higher than other sites and early marriage problem is existing there)
Specific Findings: The average children in participating families varies 6 families has 2 children, 21 families has 4 children and 11 families has 5-6 children. Regarding education status in study participating children almost the number of boys 51 and girls 49 still in schools which reflect that it is equal opportunity for both in education. As a result of the gains in female education, the gap in the educational attainment between males and females has almost disappeared among younger cohorts Most young people in this study are either currently in school or have previously been to school. Nearly most of students are in mixed-sex schools in the same classes, but sometimes in two separate buildings. Single sex schools are slightly more commonly by males.
Parents education Parents’ education plays a large role in children educational level and track. In the study samples 57% of mothers were not educated at all, compare to 42% of fathers. The educated up to preparatory schools between parents were 10% mothers and 15% fathers. Vocational education is preferred for most families for boys and girls. The study parents included 10% mothers and 23% fathers received vocational education and has moderate income also.
Mother age for first marriage: About 65% of the participating mothers married at age less than 18 years old compare to 7.8% of men married at age less than 18 years old. The gap in age between parents mainly in the first few years of marital life causes many problems and disappointment for men more than women. 50 year father “ I had spent most of my life teach the girl I married how to be a wife because whenever we have argument, she run to her parents’ home”
Reproductive Health Menarche and Information about Puberty: Nearly all female respondents have gone through menarche without any information about puberty neither from mother or school. The average age of menarche, among those participating children, was 12-15 years of age, which is late due to either family history or malnutrition. Nearly all respondents girls over the age of 15 have begun menstruating, and many reacted to their first menstruation with fear or shock. For boys, parents are not an important source of information about puberty, instead friends, elder brothers, and relatives provided them by this information
Source of Information Among all respondents (both boys and girls ) aged 10-17, they did not talked with their parents about these changes about 44%. Few females than males about 34% had talked with their parents about puberty however they prefer to discuss such issues with their elder sister and or aunts. Boys prefer to talk with mothers rather than their father about any problem they are facing because they feel more ashamed from fathers. Boys also mention that they could talk to their teachers ( mainly the teacher of Arabic Langue) and or school social workers. In the curriculum of 2 nd year in preparatory school there is lessons about reproduction, however all students in all ages said that it is always deleted from teaching every year.
According to culture expectations women should have their first birth mostly in the first year of marriage whatever her age, even if she is teenage otherwise the family will start looking for the reasons. Some of them had received infertility treatment early. The early marriage problems was expressed by mothers, as repeated abortion, un-satisfaction of their marital lives ( which is male complaint also), feeling sorry for leaving school and feeling inferiority.
Female circumcision Most of interviewees confirmed that the practice of FGM may be declining in most population groups. They are aware that it is harmful practice, as mothers did not forgot their own painful experience of FGM. Men are more open to discuss this issue before taking decision, as they are facing problems in their marital life. All members believe that awareness sessions through NGOs/ CDAs could help them taking the proper decision mainly if the advisor is well trained with accurate medical background. However still the pressure of traditionally practice is a barrier for not to do circumcision for girls before or at puberty to prepare her for marriage.
Attitudes towards Female Circumcision The respondents of mothers were familiar with female circumcision when were asked their opinion about whether female circumcision is an important or necessary practice. Nearly 47%, 18 families of respondents thought that FGM could be unnecessary and harmful practice these days. This opinion depends upon mothers and fathers age, whenever they are younger they believe it is not necessary for their daughters because they were exposed to awareness sessions about this subject. About 28% thought the practice was necessary. This issue depends also upon woman’s education level. About 24% of families did not decide yet whether do circumcision or not for their daughters and need proper advice from physicians, they are very able not to do. Bani-Ebid village is a unique village as all families believe and do not practice FGM for their daughters because there were a project for 5 years working on this malpractice awareness.
Family planning practice: Most of participating mothers using injectable as a suitable method for spacing from their perspective. Family planning providers are not always offering women the information necessary to make an informed choice about the method best suited to their contraceptive needs. In particular, around one in three users of modern methods were not provided information about methods other than the one they adopt despite that they get it from primary health care centers
Communication in the family and emotional expression: All participating families said that they discuss their own problems and affairs within the small family, sometimes with elder son, not with the extended family. First they are living alone, second they are afraid from generation differently attitude and ideas, meanwhile they should be obedient and follow elder opinions. Only 13% where the fathers were above 50s old, they still would like to discuss their matters with grandfathers or uncles mainly if it is a financial problem. Mothers in the families are the main resource of information and love, they could hug and kiss their children whatever their age, but for fathers they do not feel comfortable doing this except in occasions. When we asked children about their feeling if this emotional support is not exciting, they feel insecure as if they are punished for something they did.
Technology use: Mobile ( cellular) and internet All parents agreed that it constitutes grounds for not to give girls mobile phone as it will be source of problems if they suspect that she is talking to a man. It is the same attitude of boys towards their sisters, where they refused to allow for their sisters to get cellular phone because of community attitude and may be other boys will contact them. I trust my daughter however, if she have a cellular may her friends give her number to others or they talk with each other in company where we could face problems”
Relationship between sister and brother: Children were asked if they agree that a girl must obey her brother even if he is younger and whether a woman must ask her husband for permission before she does anything. The majority of them believe that ladies must obey the man in the family; and believe that a girl must obey her brother, and service him at home. Unfortunately mothers are supporting this attitude and train their girls to be obedient for males. They allow boys to give orders to their sisters and could punish them also. Boys should give remarks for their sisters about the way they dress. Agreeing with obedience to brother and husband’s permission shows similar rates by educational level. Females decreasingly agree that a girl should obey her brother with higher levels of education. Fathers show more sympathy for girls rather than mothers, who prefer to support boys rights more. Fathers say the elder son should take the lead in the house if father is absent only.
Decision Making Power and women participation in decision making: The majority of currently married women reported that the decisions were either made jointly or by the husband 47% and sometimes elder son but no one else. There is no evidence of extended family now, families are afraid from discussing their affair with elder family members due to the difference of generation knowledge. On these issues, males and females show different but slight patterns with age. However all families said they take jointly decision in the family for matters related to girls education and marriage. Education of father allow him to proper selection of the man who will marry his daughter. Regarding family planning methods the decision is completely from female. Women were most likely to say they alone made decisions in daughter circumcision.
The analysis shows that the decision making in the family could be affected by many factors: Parents level of education has a significant and positive effect on parents attitudes towards gender equality. Young Age of parents facilitate joint decisions making. Female occupation gives her better situation in the family. Marital Age of female, when she marry at young age ( 13-16 Y) she will not has a position in the family affairs all her life as her husband keep feeling that she is immature. Family income play great role in their understanding of women roles in the family. The power change in family could be affected if mother is working and has her occupation and income. They has more power in taking decisions and manage family affairs.
Recommendations: school should be a place of moral and civic education instruction for the proper conduct becomes the first sphere of culture acts of teaching young people the importance of dialogue, interpersonal communication skills and negotiation. Approach to engaging men and boys as allies for a change favorable to equity socio- cultural and gender equality. Champions example, peer educators, school clubs.. Develop strategies to influence children education styles both at school and in the household/family. Towards the creation of a critical mass of gender sensitive citizens. Working on the concept of "community welfare": participatory work with the communities in shaping a village where it is wonderful to live, for all the components of the households ( children, young and adolescents, adults and elderly, from all the sexes). Using of media like radio and TV to advocate for gender equality, elimination of violence has been the most effective approach to educate the mass and bring timely change in individual and collective lives by using proper messages and models.
No single approach works to bring about holistic change in women’s and men’s lives to be reflect on children life. It is necessary to upgrade teachers skills to understand how to treat adolescent properly including schools mentors ( males and females). It seems that the effort of NGOs in fighting FGM is effective as 18 families did not practice this harmful act for their girls versus 11 families did, the target now is the 11 families who did not take the decision yet. Awareness and proper information from physicians is very important to support their decision. Physicians and service providers in primary health care centers needs to be trained on family planning counseling and services to promote IUD between users.