On World Refugee Day, the Child Marriage Research to Action Network (the CRANK) held its second research meeting of 2023 to present some of the latest evidence on addressing child marriage in conflict- and crisis-affected settings. This included special attention to supporting ever-married girls – that is, girls who are or have been married – who are displaced or refugees, and who are largely overlooked by current programmes and policies.
UNICEF’s latest report on child marriage confirms the impact of conflict and crisis: for each tenfold increase in conflict-related fatalities, child marriage increases 7%; for every 10% change in rainfall due to climate change, child marriage increases 1%. Marriage in these contexts also threatens girls’ physical and mental health, and limits their decision-making power, education, and access to sexual and reproductive health care and other support services.
Yet there are few quality interventions in conflict- and crisis-affected settings, and little evidence on how to address the unique aspects of implementing and evaluating interventions with refugees in lower- and middle-income countries.
- Adapting to context is key to programme success and sustainability. This means learning from existing evidence and programmes, and adapting them to crisis- and conflict-affected settings. This includes considering and responding to the drivers and consequences of child marriage before, during and after displacement.
- Community engagement is key to the acceptability and long-term effectiveness of interventions. This means building meaningful partnerships, led by community-based actors who know the context best, while acknowledging how they are also constrained by that context (e.g. poverty, insecurity and gender norms). In engaging boys, work on communication and negotiation skills is a powerful entry point; with men, focusing on the negative implications of marrying a girl under age 18 is also effective.
- Further attention needs to be paid to the experience of displacement, and support continued through complex and protracted crises, and after marriage. Married and displaced girls need to be made visible as marginalised groups who often experience emotional distress; interventions need to plan and budget to open and maintain their access to services and support, including through peer networks and access to supportive adults. Support for mental health, divorce and gender-based violence (GBV) services are also key.
- Interventions need to be multisectoral and multi-dimensional. Empowerment-based approaches are important, but difficult in crisis- and conflict-affected settings. Interventions need to address the structural barriers to girls’ rights, agency and leadership, working across sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), mental health, education, (non-traditional) livelihoods and economic empowerment, child protection and GBV, and laws and policies.
This CRANK research meeting was a space to:
- Discuss the evidence and learnings from:
- A recent study on early marriage among Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Amenah: Design and implementation of the Amenah early marriage pilot intervention among Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
- Recent research on adolescent girls’ experiences in conflict- and crisis-affected communities in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Jordan and Lebanon: “There should be some freedom in our lives”: Exploring adolescent girls’ experiences of child marriage.
- The March-ZIM project in Zimbabwe: Exploring and addressing the mental health consequences of child marriage.
- A recent scoping review: Mapping key factors for successful child marriage programming and intervention contextualisation.
- Consider the implications of this evidence for research, programming and policymaking.
- Hear brief updates from researchers and practitioners on new or current child marriage research.
The moderators and speakers were:
- Maha Muna, Regional Gender Adviser for UNICEF Middle East and North Africa and lead of inter-agency collaboration: Gender in Humanitarian Action.
- Dr. Maia Sieverding, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences and Dr. Sawsan Abdulrahim, Professor of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut.
- Dr. Nicola Jones, Principal Research Fellow, Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence, ODI.
- Dr. Rochelle Burgess, Associate Professor in Global Health, University College London and Dr. Nyaradzayi Gumbondzvanbda, Founder and Chief Executive of the Rozaria Memorial Trust.
- Dr Aisha Hutchinson, Lecturer in Social Sciences, King's College London.
- All presentations (English) (PPTX, 62.5MB)
- Recording (English)
- Enregistrement (français)
- Grabación (español)
Presentations, and recording / Ordre du jour, présentations et enregistrement / Agenda, presentaciones y grabación
- Key takeaways & notes (Eng) (PDF, 400.0kB)
- Points à retenir & notes (Fr) (PDF, 419.2kB)
- Principales aportaciones (Esp) (PDF, 412.8kB)
- Design and implementation of the Amenah early marriage pilot intervention among Syrian refugees in Lebanon
- “There should be some freedom in our lives”: Exploring adolescent girls’ experiences of child marriage.
- CRANK Research Spotlight_Child marriage in conflict-and crisis-affected settings (PDF, 2.0MB)
Session notes and reports / Notes de la séance et rapports / Puntos clave de la sesión e informes
CRANK Research Spotlight: Addressing child marriage and supporting married girls in conflict- and crisis-affected settings
Research Spotlight covering the latest research and evidence related to child marriage programming in conflict- and crisis-affected settings, including key takeaways, evidence gaps and ideas for further research and programming.
Research Spotlight: 'Child marriage in humanitarian settings' and 'challenging gender norms to end child marriage'
Research Spotlight covering evidence on girl-led and girl-centred research in humanitarian settings, and on challenging gender norms to end child marriage.
CRANK research meeting: Child marriage in humanitarian settings
This CRANK global research meeting was open to all. In it, we shared findings from girl-centred, girl-led research on child marriage in humanitarian settings. There was also be space for…