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Child marriage around the world:

Kenya

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
4%
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
23%

* References

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old.

* According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016.

Photo credit: Landesa

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
4%
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
23%

* References

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old.

* According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016.

An estimated 23% of girls are married before their 18th birthday in Kenya.

Child marriage rates vary across regions, with the North Eastern and Coast regions having the highest prevalence rates, while the Central region and Nairobi have the lowest rates.

A high prevalence of HIV in Kenya means that young married girls are particularly at risk. In a study in Kisumu, 33% of married girls surveyed were infected with HIV as opposed to 22% for their sexually active, unmarried counterparts.

Drivers

Plan have shown that many girls in rural parts of Kenya are often perceived by their families as either an economic burden or valued as capital for their exchange value in terms of goods, money and livestock. To justify these economic transactions, a combination of cultural, traditional and religious arguments are often employed.

Education is a key driver, as 67% of women aged 20-24 with no education married as a child, in comparison to 6% of women with secondary education or higher.

Women living in rural areas are twice as likely to be married under age 18 than women living in urban areas. This urban-rural divide has increased by 36% since 2003.

Legal age of marriage

In March 2014, the parliament adopted the Marriage Act 2014 which introduces a uniform minimum age of marriage, set at 18 for both women and men.

Importantly, the new legislation applies to all forms of marriage including Islamic and customary marriages.

Sources