Social protection – especially cash transfer programmes – can play a role in mitigating some of the economic and social drivers of child marriage in both development and humanitarian contexts.
In this webinar – which kicked off our new online series on what works to end child marriage – we shared and analysed the evidence and had an open discussion of how cash transfer programmes can contribute to ending child marriage.
- Poverty is a key driver of child, early and forced marriage and unions (CEFMU). Economic insecurity can push parents to arrange earlier marriage for their daughters to reduce the pressure on household finances. Adolescent girls may initiate a marriage or union in response to economic shocks or to gain economic independence.
- Progress on CEFMU has been uneven and the pandemic has pushed more families into poverty. CEFMU among girls from the most marginalised communities has increased, even as global prevalence has fallen.
- Bride price and dowry change the impact of economic insecurity on CEFMU. In a bride price context (where the man’s family pays the girl’s family) economic insecurity can drive the girl’s family to arrange an earlier marriage. In a dowry context, (where the girl’s family pays) the girl’s family may delay marriage if they cannot pay the dowry.
- The impact of cash transfers on CEFMU depends on context and the use of conditions:
- Conditional cash transfers help keep girls in school, reducing CEFMU and risky sexual behaviours. But they may exclude the most at-risk girls and are difficult to implement well.
- Unconditional cash transfers help keep girls in school and protect against early and high-risk sex. But they do not always reduce CEFMU and may lead to earlier marriage in dowry contexts.
- Cash transfers will not change social norms in the short term but combined with other policies (especially education) they can support girls to resist unequal and harmful social practices.
- State-run cash transfers that are part of social protection systems have the most potential to address CEFMU sustainably and at scale, especially if they are predictable and well-targeted.
- Cash transfer programmes are most effective when their objectives are clearly communicated and adolescent girls are involved as active participants. Prominent community champions also have a role to play.
You can watch the session back and view presentations, notes and resources, downloadable below.
Our online series on what works to end child marriage
This webinar was the first in this online learning series. In the series, we will host monthly webinars focusing on different topics and approaches to end child marriage. In them, we will share the latest learning, evidence and experience from across the global Girls Not Brides partnership, and beyond.
- Cash transfers and child marriage brief
- Learning series session 1 presentation (English) (PDF, 2.4MB)
- Learning series session 1 takeaways and recommendations (PDF, 252.7kB)
- Seminaires d'apprentissage 1 points principaux (PDF, 258.2kB)
- Sesiones de aprendizaje 1 principales aportaciones (PDF, 247.2kB)