Child marriage by 15
Child marriage by 18
Other key stats
|Are there Girls Not Brides members?||15|
|Does this country have a national strategy or plan?||Yes|
|Is there a Girls Not Brides National Partnership or coalition?||Yes|
|Age of marriage without consent or exceptions taken into account||Minimum legal age of marriage below 18 years|
What's the prevalence rate?
What drives child marriage in Togo?
Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys. In Togo, child marriage is also driven by:
Level of education: Girls with primary or no education are much more likely to marry early than those with further education. When girls do not achieve certain standards at school they are sometimes married off to older men in their village.
Harmful traditional practices: Forced marriage is reportedly common in the northern part of Togo and the Vogan region. This involves a lengthy negotiation process between families, taking into consideration religious traditions and dowry. Some parents marry off their daughters at a young age because they can reach more favourable arrangements while they are still virgins. If girls try to resist forced marriage, they face being banished from their families.
Family honour: High value is placed on virginity, whereas sex and pregnancy out of wedlock brings dishonour to families, which also diminishes the value of the daughter's dowry. The fear of girls becoming pregnant drives many parents to marry their daughters early.
Country-specific practices: The practice of pledging children in marriage at a young age, although banned in the country’s Children’s Code, is reportedly still practiced in the Kara region and Dankpen prefecture.
Religion: In Muslim communities, girls are reportedly married off as young as 12 to men who are much older.
What international, regional and national commitments has Togo made?
Togo has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The government did not provide an update on progress towards this target during its Voluntary National Reviews at the 2016, 2017 or 2018 High Level Political Forums, the mechanism through which countries report their progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Togo co-sponsored the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage, and the 2017 Human Rights Council resolution recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts.
Togo co-sponsored the 2013, 2014 and 2018 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage. In 2014, Togo also signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.
Togo ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, 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 1983, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.
In 1998 Togo ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage. In 2005 Togo 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.
In 2016 the UN Child Rights Committee expressed concern that child marriages are still widely practiced throughout Togo, and prosecution of those involved has not been given priority.
During its 2016 Universal Periodic Review, Togo supported recommendations to prosecute all cases of child marriage and punish perpetrators according to the law.
As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in 2017 Togo adopted the Strategic Framework for Strengthening National Child Protection Systems under which protecting children from marriage is a priority. In June 2019, the ECOWAS Heads of State endorsed the ECOWAS Child Policy and Strategic Action Plan and the 2019-2030 Roadmap on prevention and response to child marriage.
In addition, in July 2019, the ECOWAS First Ladies signed “The Niamey Declaration: Call to End Child Marriage and to promote the Education and empowerment of Girls”, calling Member States to initiate legislative, institutional and budgetary reforms to implement the 2019-2030 Roadmap.
Togo is a partner country of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
What is the government doing to address child marriage?
The Togolese Ministries of Education, Gender and Health developed a National Programme Against Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy (2014-2019) which focuses on providing social protection to girls who are married as children.
The multi-sectoral approach centres on five areas:
Improving legal frameworks.
Keeping adolescent girls in the education system.
Providing adolescent-friendly information and sexual and reproductive health services.
Encouraging adolescent girls’ leadership and strengthening the capacity of families, communities, traditional and religious leaders.
Coordination, advocacy, resource mobilisation and monitoring and evaluation.
With support from UNICEF, the Minister of Social Action and Gender led a National Forum on Ending Child Marriage in March 2016. Prior to the Forum, regional consultations with religious and traditional leaders were held which resulted in the adoption of an “additional commitment” to the 2013 declaration to accelerate efforts towards ending child marriage.
What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?
Under the Code of the Child 2007 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However it is possible to marry at 16 years for serious cause with permission from judicial and parental consent.
National Partnerships and Coalitions in Togo
In this country we have a national partnership. Many Girls Not Brides member organisations have come together to accelerate progress to end child marriage in their countries by forming National Partnerships and coalitions. Below is an overview of what and where these networks are, what they do and how they work with Girls Not Brides.
We have 15 members in Togo
You can help girls in Togo by donating to our member's campaigns
Content featuring Togo
The Dakar Call to Action
The Dakar Call to Action was adopted at the West & Central Africa High-Level Meeting in Dakar from 23-25 October 2017. It calls on governments to address child marriage.
Child marriage in West & Central Africa
This brief provides an overview of child marriage in West and Central Africa and includes recommendations on how to address it.
Girls' education and child marriage in West and Central Africa
The report documents girls’ educational attainment and child marriage in the region, factors that lead girls to marry or leave school early, and the impact on development.
Guide de prévention et de prise en charge des enfants victimes de mariage précoce
Guide de prévention et de prise en charge des enfants victimes de mariage précoce.
- African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [website], 2018, https://www.achpr.org/legalinstruments/detail?id=46 (accessed January 2020).
- 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, https://au.int/en/treaties/protocol-african-charter-human-and-peoples-rights-rights-women-africa (accessed January 2020).
- ECOWAS, ECOWAS First Ladies affirm Commitment to End Child Marriage and Promote Girl-Child Education in the Region, [website], 2019, https://www.ecowas.int/ecowas-first-ladies-affirm-commitment-to-end-child-marriage-and-promote-girl-child-education-in-the-region/ (accessed January 2020).
- ECOWAS, Final Communique. Fifty-fifth Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, 2019, https://www.ecowas.int/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Final-Communiqué_55th-Summit_Abuja_29-June-2019-1.pdf (accessed January 2020).
- Girls Not Brides, In Togo, Civil Society Teams Up To End Child Marriage In Communities, [website], 2017, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/articles/togo-civil-society-teams-end-child-marriage-communities/ (accessed February 2020).
- Global Partnership for Education, Togo, [website], https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/togo (accessed February 2020).
- Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Togo: Forced marriage, particularly in Lomé, including its prevalence, the consequences of a refusal, and the treatment by society and the government of women who refuse a forced marriage; state protection and services, 2013, http://www.refworld.org/docid/53392eda4.html (accessed February 2020).
- Ministère de la Planification, du Développement et de l’Aménagement du Territoire, Ministère de la Santé et ICF International, Enquête Démographique et de Santé au Togo 2017, https://mics.unicef.org/surveys (accessed March 2020).
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, http://fngeneve.um.dk/en/aboutus/statements/newsdisplaypage/?newsid=6371ad93-8fb0-4c35-b186-820fa996d379 (accessed February 2020).
- OECD Social Institutions & Gender Index, Togo, 2014, https://www.genderindex.org/wp-content/uploads/files/datasheets/TG.pdf (accessed February 2020).
- Plan International West Africa, Mariam from Togo escaped forced and early marriage, [video], 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSO9N8dpLbA (accessed February 2020).
- UN General Assembly, Compilation prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (b) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 and paragraph 5 of the annex to Council resolution 16/21 Togo, 2016, p.9, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TGindex.aspx (accessed February 2020).
- UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Togo, 2016, p.17, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TGindex.aspx (accessed February 2020).
- UN General Assembly, Summary prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (c) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 and paragraph 5 of the annex to Council resolution 16/21 Togo,2016, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TGindex.aspx (accessed February 2020).
- Unité De Recherche Démographique, et. al, Lutter Contre Les Mariages Précoces Par L’autonomisation Des Filles Au Togo. Rapport Definitif De L’etude De Base, 2017, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/2018/04/Rapport-TOGO (accessed January 2020).
- United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 (accessed February 2020).