Report on Child Marriage Study launched in Tanzania

Study reflects reality of the problem in Tanzania

Date: Monday, March 25, 2019

Participants read through the Child Marriage Study report after it was launched in Dodoma on 5 March. UN Women/Tsitsi Matope
Participants read through the Child Marriage Study report after it was launched in Dodoma. UN Women/Tsitsi Matope

As part of the eight-day commemorations of the International Women’s Day, UN Women Tanzania launched the Multi-Country Analytical Study on the implications of Legislation, Policy, Culture and Interventions on child marriage in Dodoma and Dar es Salaam on 5 and 6 March 2019. The launches were attended by officials from the government, development partners, civil society, academia, media and members of the public including young women and men; and girls and boys. A presentation by Dr Justice Aungo and Dr Jack Abebe focused on findings of the study conducted in 10 African countries: Tanzania, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, and Nigeria.

The study noted that despite a decline in the prevalence of child marriage, it remains a persistent problem in the focused countries. In Tanzania, incidents include arranged marriage, marriage of convenience, intergenerational polygamy and forced marriage. Hot spots in child marriage include Shinyanga at a prevalence rate of 59 per cent, Tabora 58 per cent, Mara 55 per cent, Dodoma 51 per cent, Mwanza 37 per cent and Dar es Salaam 18 percent. Identified drivers of child marriage in the 10 countries included socio-ecology of where the girls reside, practices, traditions, poverty, lack of safety and insecurity (Nigeria conflict zones), avoiding shame when a girl becomes pregnant, inadequate legal safeguards and implementation of laws, illiteracy among girls, political economy (fear of losing popularity, thereby avoiding discussions on child marriage).

Discussions reflected gaps in the legal system in Tanzania and need for uniformity of laws on the legal age of marriage vis-a-vis stipulations in international treaties observed by Tanzania. Participants also discussed some best practices bearing positive results in some countries the study focused on and need for sharing; the need to develop new champions who can enhance advocacy campaigns; working with all actors including key actors in harmful practices such as traditional leaders; need to strengthen the empowerment of the girls for them to speak out and seek support when their rights are threatened; and the need to continue conversations that educate both girls and boys that marriage is not a career.