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EARLY MARRIAGE IN ETHIOPIA Mahdere Paulos Executive Directress: Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association www.etwla.orgwww.etwla.org July 2006 www.etwla.org.

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Presentation on theme: "EARLY MARRIAGE IN ETHIOPIA Mahdere Paulos Executive Directress: Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association www.etwla.orgwww.etwla.org July 2006 www.etwla.org."— Presentation transcript:

1 EARLY MARRIAGE IN ETHIOPIA Mahdere Paulos Executive Directress: Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association July 2006

2 Overview EWLA EWLA Context and Legislative responses in Ethiopia Context and Legislative responses in Ethiopia What has been done to end early marriage What has been done to end early marriage Strategies Strategies What remains to be done What remains to be done

3 Ethiopian Womens Lawyers Association Objective The elimination of all forms of legal and traditionally sanctioned discrimination against women. The elimination of all forms of legal and traditionally sanctioned discrimination against women. The ensuring of equal treatment of women with men in education, employment,access to public services and benefits. The ensuring of equal treatment of women with men in education, employment,access to public services and benefits. The advocacy of remedial and affirmative measures for women to redress accumulated consequences of discrimination The advocacy of remedial and affirmative measures for women to redress accumulated consequences of discrimination

4 Programs Legal Aid Public Education Research and Advocacy

5 Prevalence of Child Marriage Practiced among peasant communities of Christian dominated and crop producing highlands of Central and Northern Ethiopia with the national prevalence of 54.6%. Practiced among peasant communities of Christian dominated and crop producing highlands of Central and Northern Ethiopia with the national prevalence of 54.6%. Several ethnic groups in the South and South West of Ethiopia have such practice with occurrence between 50-80%. Several ethnic groups in the South and South West of Ethiopia have such practice with occurrence between 50-80%.

6 Types of early marriages Promissory marriage Promissory marriage Arranged before the birth of the child. Arranged before the birth of the child. Child marriage Child marriage Arranged for girls under 10 years of age and the bride is placed under the custody of in-laws until she reaches puberty age. Arranged for girls under 10 years of age and the bride is placed under the custody of in-laws until she reaches puberty age.

7 Types of marriage contd Early adolescent marriage Early adolescent marriage Arranged for girls between ages of The married child may stay with parents but periodically visits her parents-in-law Arranged for girls between ages of The married child may stay with parents but periodically visits her parents-in-law Late Adolescent marriage Late Adolescent marriage When the bride is 15 –18 years old When the bride is 15 –18 years old

8 Reasons for practicing Early Marriage Material Benefit Ceremony contributions in kind or cash from relatives Ceremony contributions in kind or cash from relatives Claim of dowry and/or number of animals in a form of bride price which is as a pay back Claim of dowry and/or number of animals in a form of bride price which is as a pay back Prestige and social acceptance (for fame) Prestige and social acceptance (for fame)

9 Social Reasons Fear for abduction Fear for abduction Fear for the female children not doing well in school Fear for the female children not doing well in school Fear for ostracization and stigmatization by the society Fear for ostracization and stigmatization by the society Protecting virginity (premarital sex), and unwanted pregnancy Protecting virginity (premarital sex), and unwanted pregnancy Urge to conform to tradition Urge to conform to tradition

10 Fear of losing the bride price and relation with unwanted family Fear of losing the bride price and relation with unwanted family Cementing kinship ties Cementing kinship ties

11 Economic Reasons Feel of obligation to secure childs future before they get weak or die Feel of obligation to secure childs future before they get weak or die Future reciprocal assistance Future reciprocal assistance Reduction of financial dependency of children Reduction of financial dependency of children Linkage to a family who is financially better off or a better social standing" Linkage to a family who is financially better off or a better social standing"

12 Problems/Harms/Disadvantages (Psychological) forced sexual relation and denial of freedom to play and enjoy ones childhood (Psychological) forced sexual relation and denial of freedom to play and enjoy ones childhood Distress is endured Distress is endured Domestic violence Domestic violence Reproductive health problems Reproductive health problems Denial of education Denial of education

13 Problems Continued Childhood pregnancy and child birth associate trauma and fistula, high prenatal and postnatal mortality and morbidity Childhood pregnancy and child birth associate trauma and fistula, high prenatal and postnatal mortality and morbidity The incidence of HIV infection The incidence of HIV infection

14 Prostitution, crime, street begging, etc. Prostitution, crime, street begging, etc. Rural to urban migration and suicide are mostly used ways to escape Rural to urban migration and suicide are mostly used ways to escape Population pressure, health costs, human development loss Population pressure, health costs, human development loss

15 Problems Continued Hampering the realization of the MDGs, i.e. poverty reduction Hampering the realization of the MDGs, i.e. poverty reduction Early widowhood, victim of wife inheritance or primary HIV spreading factor Early widowhood, victim of wife inheritance or primary HIV spreading factor

16 Legislative Responses Constitution Constitution Marriage shall be concluded with free and full consent of the spouses Marriage shall be concluded with free and full consent of the spouses Criminal Code Criminal Code Imposes penalty on those who solemnize, contract, permit or witnesses to EM Imposes penalty on those who solemnize, contract, permit or witnesses to EM Family Code Family Code EM concluded subject to dissolution EM concluded subject to dissolution

17 What has been done so far? Conducted sample studies and launched its findings Conducted sample studies and launched its findings Involved religious leaders and trained regional police Involved religious leaders and trained regional police Encouraged the public to report to EWLAs branch offices before EM takes place Encouraged the public to report to EWLAs branch offices before EM takes place Provides legal aid and shelter services for runaway kids Provides legal aid and shelter services for runaway kids

18 Strategies to combat the practice of Early Marriage Educate girls and boys about consequences of EM Educate girls and boys about consequences of EM Educate the community,especially parents,on the consequences of EM Educate the community,especially parents,on the consequences of EM Lobby the government to make primary education mandatory Lobby the government to make primary education mandatory Police, prosecutors and courts need to be equipped to deal with the problem Police, prosecutors and courts need to be equipped to deal with the problem

19 Strategies Contd Persuade parents to keep their daughters in school Persuade parents to keep their daughters in school Build schools closer to the community Build schools closer to the community Involve more female teachers as role models Involve more female teachers as role models Initiate Grass-root level work Initiate Grass-root level work Introduction of birth and marriage registration Introduction of birth and marriage registration

20 Strategies Contd Cash incentive to parents; in school child care Cash incentive to parents; in school child care Introduction of non-formal programs Introduction of non-formal programs Community involvement in running schools Community involvement in running schools Emergency support for runaways Emergency support for runaways

21 What should be the role of the government, NGOs and the international community? Implementing the laws need strong attention and contribution on the side of the government (political will and commitment ) Implementing the laws need strong attention and contribution on the side of the government (political will and commitment ) Working and involving local people by respecting the whole societal value Working and involving local people by respecting the whole societal value

22 The campaign has to be aligned with girls education and economic empowerment The campaign has to be aligned with girls education and economic empowerment Fund/resources from the donors Fund/resources from the donors Developing local initiatives, networking the different initiatives at different levels Developing local initiatives, networking the different initiatives at different levels

23 What Remains Contd Prepare series of educational forums for law enforcement organs Prepare series of educational forums for law enforcement organs Lobby the government on making marriage registration mandatory and follow its enforcement Lobby the government on making marriage registration mandatory and follow its enforcement Make extensive research on regional occurrence, magnitude and reasons Make extensive research on regional occurrence, magnitude and reasons Educate girls and boys Educate girls and boys Sensitize parents Sensitize parents

24 What Remains to Be Done? Contd Expand the tutorial service provided to girls education to regional states Expand the tutorial service provided to girls education to regional states Involve religious leaders, police officials and public prosecutors Involve religious leaders, police officials and public prosecutors Introduce community conversation and dialogue forums Introduce community conversation and dialogue forums

25 Thank you for your attention


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