Photo credit: Girls Not Brides
Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
* 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.
Nearly 1 in 2 girls in Mozambique are married before her 18th birthday.
Northern provinces have the highest rates of child marriage, with over 55% of girls married before 18 and nearly a quarter before 15.
While the percentage of child marriages has been decreasing in the last decade, especially before the age of 15, population growth outpaced the progress made, leading to a growth in the number of girls married.
Adolescent pregnancy is closely linked to child marriage. In rural areas, the overwhelming majority of adolescent mothers are married in their teens. On average, girls have their first child 15 months after they get married.
In the north of the country, rites of initiation – traditional practices aimed at children from 10 to 13 years – contribute to child marriage by emphasizing the subordination of a girl to her husband, the respect for older people and working as children’s graduation to adulthood and marriage.
Legal age of marriage
In Mozambique, the legal age of marriage is 18, and 16 with parental consent, under the Family and the Law on the Protection and Promotion of Child Rights.
National strategy to end child marriage
The Council of Ministers approved the National Strategy for the Prevention and Combating of Early Marriage (2015-2019) in December 2015, and officially launched it in April 2016.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Affairs, the strategy was developed through an inclusive process that involved multiple ministries, international agencies, donor partners, and the Girls Not Brides national partnership in Mozambique.
Consultations were held in several high-prevalence provinces in the North, and one in the South, with affected girls, children, community leaders, mothers and traditional groups.
The strategy contains eight main pillars, including: a communications and social mobilisation campaign; improving girls’ access to education, as well as sexual and reproductive health services, family planning, and sex education; support for married girls; and reform of the legal framework.
The Ministry of Social Action, Children and Gender is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the national strategy.
UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage
Mozambique is a focus country of the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, a multi-donor, multi-stakeholder programme working across 12 countries over four years.
National Partnership in Mozambique
Girls Not Brides Mozambique is the official Girls Not Brides National Partnership in Mozambique, also known as the Coligação para a Eliminação e Prevenção dos Casamentos Prematuros (CECAP)
It was formed in 2014.
CECAP is comprised of 40 civil society organisations and it is led by the the Fórum da Sociedade Civil para os Direitos da Criança (ROSC) with strong support from World Vision Mozambique.
CECAP’s mission is to eliminate child marriage in Mozambique through the strengthening of research, policy advocacy, social mobilisation and collaboration among relevant actors within society.
Members In Mozambique
- Girls Not Brides Mozambique, UNICEF Mozambique, Child Marriage and Adolescent Pregnancy in Mozambique: Causes and Impact report, 2015
- UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016
- Girls Not Brides Mozambique, Child marriage in Mozambique: What is being done? Evidence, policies & laws, advocacy, interventions, 2014
- UNFPA, Child marriage country profile: Mozambique, 2012