Child marriage around the world:

Sierra Leone

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
13%
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
39%
International Ranking*

19

* 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: Dominic Chavez | World Bank

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
13%
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
39%
International Ranking*

19

* 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.

39% of girls in Sierra Leone are married before their 18th birthday.

However, the child marriage rate has constantly declined during the past years, from 56% in 2006 to 48% in 2008 and 39% now.

Drivers

UNFPA have highlighted that child marriage in Sierra Leone is linked to poverty, lack of education and geographical area.

Legal age of marriage

The Sierra Leone Child Rights Act prohibits marriage under the age of 18, regardless of whether the married is carried out under formal, customary or religious law.

However, the 2007 Customary Marriage Act also allows parents or local government officials to consent to a child’s marriage.

Government response

The Government of Sierra Leone is currently implementing “Let Girls be Girls, Not Mothers”, a two-year national strategy for the reduction of teenage pregnancy.

Global Programme on child marriage

Sierra Leone is one of 12 countries selected to be part of UNFPA and UNICEF’s Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage.

Sources