Coverage and Effects of Child Marriage Prevention Activities in Amhara Region, Ethiopia - Findings from a 2007 Study
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Author(s): Gage A (Ed.)
This study, hereafter referred to as the Early Marriage Evaluation Study (EMES), was a household survey of 3,677 female adolescents aged 10-19 years, 1,737 male youth aged 15-24 years, and 4,670 caretakers in Amhara Region, Ethiopia. The primary purpose of the EMES was to provide policymakers and program managers with detailed information on the reach and effects of early marriage prevention activities in the region to support program efforts in addressing the challenges posed by child marriage for womens reproductive health, education and status, and for national development. The 2007 EMES is the first large-scale household survey in Ethiopia to provide population-based estimates on levels of exposure to early marriage prevention messages and their influence on knowledge, attitudes, and skills conducive to delaying marriage. The survey was conducted from July 16 to August 20, 2007.<p> <p>The study differentiated woredas (that is, districts) in which early marriage prevention activities were integrated into USAID-funded community-based reproductive health and basic education programs (hereafter referred to as program areas) from woredas in which early marriage prevention activities were not integrated into these USAID-funded programs (hereafter referred to as non-program areas). It is to be noted that the study collected largely descriptive information and could not determine the impact of early marriage prevention activities as there were no comparable baseline surveys and no control/comparison woredas were selected before the start of early marriage prevention activities. As a result of the lack of control/comparison woredas and the widespread dissemination of early marriage prevention messages by various parties throughout Amhara Region since the enactment of the legal minimum age at marriage, the distinctions made between program areas and non-program areas were not clear-cut. Moreover, it was difficult to assess how much change had occurred over time in early marriage knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Given these considerations, the study was an assessment of early marriage knowledge, attitudes, and preferences and showed whether areas in which early marriage prevention activities were integrated in a systematic way into USAID-funded reproductive health and basic education programs differed in the outcomes of interest from other areas.