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Mozambique

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
14%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
48%
International Ranking*

9

* 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 (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

Photo credit: Girls Not Brides

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
14%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
48%
International Ranking*

9

* 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 (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

48% of girls in Mozambique are married before their 18th birthday and 14% are married before the age of 15.

According to UNICEF, Mozambique has the ninth highest child marriage prevalence rate in the world and the 15th highest absolute number of child brides – 649,000.

The median ages of marriage are lowest in Cabo Delgado and Manica.

A 2017 World Bank study estimates that ending child marriage in Mozambique could see a 15.6% rise in earnings and productivity.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Mozambique, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Poverty: Girls living in rural parts of Mozambique and in the poorest households marry at a younger age.
  • Gender norms: Traditional gender norms continue to drive child marriage in rural Mozambique, where sexual initiation rites often encourage the subordination of a girl to her husband.
  • Adolescent pregnancy: Adolescent pregnancy is closely linked to child marriage. In rural areas, the majority of adolescent mothers are married in their teens. On average, girls have their first child 15 months after they get married. Evidence shows that access to contraception could significantly reduce teenage pregnancies and child marriage.

What has this country committed to?

Mozambique has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mozambique co-sponsored the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage and signed a joint statement at the 2014 Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Mozambique ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1997, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to 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.

In 1998 Mozambique ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2005 Mozambique ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, including Article 6 which sets the minimum age for marriage as 18.

Mozambique is one of 20 countries which has committed to ending child marriage by the end of 2020 under the Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa.

During its 2016 Universal Periodic Review, Mozambique supported recommendations to establish the minimum age of marriage at 18 years old and to operationalise a gender strategy within the education system in order to combat child marriage.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Affairs has developed a National Costed Strategy to Prevent and Eliminate Child Marriage (2016-2019) which is being implemented in collaboration with UNICEF, UNFPA and the Girls Not Brides national partnership (CECAP).

The strategy was developed through consultation with multiple ministries, international agencies, donor partners and the National Coalition to End Child Marriage. It contains eight main pillars, including:
• A communications and social mobilisation campaign
• Improving girls’ access to education and sexual and reproductive health services
• Support for married girls
• Reform of the legal framework.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Family Law 2004 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However the law also allows marriage at 16 years in exceptional circumstances with judicial consent.

Source

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [website], 2018, (accessed February 2018)

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [website], 2018, (accessed February 2018)

Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern African, [website], 2014, (accessed February 2018)

Ministerio da Saude, Instituto Nacional de Estatística e ICF International, Moçambique Inquérito Demográfico e de Saúde 2011, 2012, (accessed April 2018)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, (accessed April 2018)

UNICEF-UNFPA, Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, 2017, (accessed February 2018)

UNICEF Mozambique, UNFPA and Coligação para a Eliminação e Prevenção dos Casamentos Prematuros (CECAP), Child Marriage and Adolesent Pregnancy in Mozambique: Causes and Impact, 2015, (accessed February 2018)

UN Child Rights Committee, CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 44 OF THE CONVENTION, Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Mozambique, 2009, (accessed May 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review Mozambique, 2016, p.17, p.19,  (accessed February 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017,  (accessed February 2018)

World Bank and International Center for Research on Women, Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Global Synthesis Report, 2017, (accessed February 2018)

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

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.

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