Early Marriage Study Used
MEASURE Evaluation, in collaboration with Addis Continental Institute of Public Health (ACIPH), studied community and school-based early marriage prevention interventions in Amhara region to determine their influence on knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to forestall early marriage, forced marriage, rape and abduction.
Workshops were held March 3 and 6 in Bahir Dar, Amhara and Addis Ababa to disseminate study findings and develop data use plans. The plans are aimed at helping refine future strategies and support on-going efforts to address challenges caused by early marriage in the areas of reproductive health, education and women's status.
MEASURE Evaluation, after presentation of the findings, facilitated a discussion in Bahir Dar to determine how to use the findings to develop action plans. Four groups of stakeholders--totaling about 70 persons--from various governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as traditional birth attendants and members of girls clubs participated in the discussions. Actions outlined in the plan include:
- Incorporating prevention messages in iddirs (indigenous social insurance association) and other religious institutions;
- Preparing a secret box to provide information about underage girls whose families are intending to force them into marriage;
- Urging law enforcement bodies to work in conjunction with community, governmental and non-governmental bodies; and
- Establish girls' clubs in the school system.
35 workshop participants--primarily from local and international NGOs--used the study findings to identify next steps suggested by the data. For example, participants proposed creation by December, 2008, of a network of stakeholders to promote alternative opportunities to early marriage; and design a strategy to alleviate mental depression among girls whose marriage was prevented.
This planning is significant for the support of M&E aspects of early marriage prevention interventions. The document represents a collaborative effort by various stakeholders (including community members) to develop actionable plans to improve program strategies that would inform the community of the negative effects of child marriage and, ultimately, prevent early marriage.