Reaching out to partners in the time of COVID-19: Child Marriage

Girl with her head leaning against the wall, looking into the camera


Girls in West and Central Africa (WCA) face the highest risk of marrying or entering in union prior to reaching 18 years old in the world. On average, four in 10 young women in the region were married or in union before age 18, and 15 per cent before the age of 15. The region has also the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world (28 per cent). Encouraging progress has been made in recent years in a growing number of countries in the region, where child marriage has been addressed as a part of the national development strategy. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is putting such gains at a high risk, both in terms of the regional momentum built towards ending child marriage and the programmatic efforts to reduce child marriage.

Profile of young girl with head scarf

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