One size does not fit all
The patterning and drivers of child marriage in Ethiopia’s hotspot districts
With an eye towards evidence-informed programming to eliminate child marriage in Ethiopia, this national mapping study was commissioned by UNICEF Ethiopia and the National Alliance to End Child Marriage by 2025 – with contribution from Girl Hub – to identify the hotspots for child marriage in Ethiopia, investigate the factors that maintain the practice of child marriage and explore the protective mechanisms that enable children to avoid child marriage. It is ground-breaking because it is the first study to examine child marriage on a woreda (district) level and is one of only a few to look at child marriage outside of Amhara regional state (see Presler-Marshall et al., 2015). The research, which required work in ten Ethiopian languages1 across seven regional states, pays particular attention to identifying drivers of child marriage in eleven hotspot woredas with high prevalence of girls married between the ages of 10 and 17 years, and highlights the primacy of gendered socio-cultural norms. It also examines the relative importance of economic drivers, land fragmentation, migration, education and post-education livelihood options and religious and traditional values and practices. Protective factors in each woreda are also examined, including forms of marriage that preclude early cohabitation, community role models, access to secondary education, the engagement of men and boys and the commitment of local leaders.