What works to tackle child marriage in Ethiopia
A review of good practice
With an eye towards evidence-informed programming to eliminate child marriage in Ethiopia, this good practices study was commissioned by UNICEF Ethiopia and the National Alliance to End Child Marriage and FGM/C by 2025 to identify existent Ethiopian programming which is reducing child marriage and to assess impact pathways, scalability, community outreach and other positive forces for change. Child marriage programming is comparatively new, only gaining traction in the mid-1990s, primarily located in South Asia (Bangladesh and India), mostly small- scale and only rarely rigorously evaluated. As a result, very little is known about what works on the broader-scale and in the longer-term to prevent child marriage (Malhotra et al., 2011). Of the 23 programmes identified by the
most thorough recent review, only two1 were located in Ethiopia—and neither reached more than 5,000 girls (ibid.). Furthermore, while that review concluded that there was evidence of positive programme impact, particularly through empowering girls and educating communities and especially in regard to behavioural rather than attitudinal change, it also acknowledged that disentangling impacts and impact pathways was difficult2 (ibid.). With that conclusion in mind, this research, which required work in seven Ethiopian languages3 across five regional states, is focused on programmes solely within Ethiopia and aims to promote more systematic lesson learning in the context of greater international investment in child marriage reduction.