Photo credit: Tall as the Baobab Tree film | Jeremy Teicher
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 out of 3 girls is married as a child in Senegal. Rates are as high as 68% in the southern region of Kolda but more and more villages are abandoning the practice.
Education is highly associated with child marriage in Senegal. 48% of women aged 20-24 with no education and 26% with primary education were married or in union at age 18, compared to only 6% of women with secondary education or higher.
Legal age of marriage
There is a lack of clarity and consistency in legislation related to the age of a child and the minimum age of marriage in Senegal. While Article 276 of the Family Code consider minors to be any person under the age of 18, Article 111 of the same code permits marriage at the age of 16 years for girls, and 18 years for boys.
This has been consistently raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its recommendations to the government of Senegal.
During the first Universal Periodic Review of Senegal in 2009 the issue of sexual exploitation of girls, eliminating discrimination against women and preventing harmful traditional practices was raised.
Senegal accepted the UK‘s recommendation to ‘continue awareness-raising campaigns to combat and eradicate FGM and other traditional harmful practices against women and girls’.
Initiatives to address child marriage
On 22 June 2016, Senegal became the 14th country to launch the African Union campaign to end child marriage in Africa.
Members In Senegal
- Actions pour le Développement par l’Éducation et la Réinsertion (ADERE)
- Association de Developpement Communautaire, Ninnaba Kolda (ADC NINNABA)
- Association de Femmes pour l’Appui aux Actions de Développement (AFAAD)
- Association des Jeunes pour le Développement (AJD PASTEEF)
- Association des Jeunes pour le Développement de Bakel (AJDB)
- Association des Relais IEC-Sante “Fankanta”
- Case and Diapale Xaleyi
- Coalition Nationale des Associations et ONG en faveur de l’Enfant (CONAFE)
- Conseil Sénégalais des Femmes (COSEF)
- ENDA Jeunesse Action Senegal
- GIE Association des Relais Santé Communautaire de Diaobé (ARSD)
- GIE CONFEKA
- GIE INA Groupe
- GIE Khel Ak Khalat
- Grandmother Project
- Mouvement Jeunesse & Culture de Kolda
- Réseau des Femmes CESIRI
- Réseau des Pairs Educateurs de Tambacounda (REPET)
- World Vision
- UNFPA, Child marriage country profile: Senegal, 2012
- African Child Policy Forum, Minimum age of marriage in Africa, 2013
- UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016