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A comparative study of child marriage and parenthood in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Zambia

Project ID
Total Funding
CAD 1,120,200.00
IDRC Officer
Ramata Thioune
Project Status
30 months

Programs and partnerships

Governance and Justice

Lead institution(s)

Project leader:
Gina Crivello
United Kingdom


The aim of this project is to enhance the understanding of the complexities of child marriage and parenthood to inform policies and programming.Read more

The aim of this project is to enhance the understanding of the complexities of child marriage and parenthood to inform policies and programming. The project will generate new evidence of international relevance, and by taking a comparative approach, it will contribute to breaking the intergenerational cycles of poverty and gender inequality. Studies to date have emphasized the drivers and immediate consequences for mothers and their infants. By taking an approach that emphasizes life course poverty and gender inequality, this project will help uncover how interventions in health, education, violence, and livelihoods need to be adapted to meet the needs of adolescent parents or children who are married, in order to have a positive effect on girls’ and boys’ trajectories.

The overall research will be led by Young Lives (University of Oxford). The research will be undertaken in collaboration with Child Frontiers (Zambia) and Grupo de Analisis para el Desarollo – GRADE (Peru). A socio-ecological life course perspective will guide the research, which will use mixed methods, including quantitative as well as participatory approaches. It will also use a relational approach to gender and generation, examining the relationships, power structures, and norms and practices that influence adolescents’ and young people’s transitions, not only in terms of motherhood and marriage but also with respect to boys, marriage, fatherhood, and the formation of new households. To ensure uptake, an innovative engagement plan will be developed that involves key stakeholders from the outset, especially those drafting policies related to Sustainable Development Goal #5, Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Research outputs

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The study aims to generate new research evidence of international relevance on child marriage, towards improving programs and policies addressing life course poverty and gender inequality. This summary report draws from country team reports and country-specific policy briefs. It situates early marriage, cohabitation, and parenthood within a broader social and societal framework. Research activities were interwoven in a wider process of policy discussions and dissemination workshops as well as cross-cutting comparative analyses aimed at a global audience. Across all settings pertaining to the young marriage and parenthood study (YMAPS) there is lack of access among adolescents to the support, services and information they need in terms of contraception.

Cirvello, Gina



Mettre un terme à la pratique du mariage des enfants est devenu un engagement international dans le cadre de l’Objectif 5 de développement durable qui vise à autonomiser les filles et les femmes partout dans le monde. Rêver d’une vie meilleure : le mariage d’enfants à travers les yeux des adolescents présente de nouvelles perspectives et de nouvelles données qui pourront contribuer aux efforts déployés pour atteindre cet objectif. Ces perspectives nouvelles ont pu être développées au cours de projets de recherches et d’interventions qui ont été financés par le Centre de recherches pour le développement international (CRDI) du Canada et qui avaient pour but d’examiner différents aspects de la question du mariage des enfants. Les chapitres réunis dans cet ouvrage, qui abordent la question dans des zones rurales et urbaines au Bangladesh, en Côte d’Ivoire, en Inde, au Mali, au Niger, au Pakistan, au Pérou, au Sénégal, au Togo et en Zambie, couvrent de nombreux thèmes tels que la capacité d’agir des adolescentes et leurs rôles dans les prises de décisions liées au mariage, la maternité à l’adolescence, les violences sexuelles et sexospécifiques envers les enfants et les leçons tirées de tentatives pour influencer les politiques et mettre en place des programmes dans le but de réduire le nombre de mariages d’enfants. Ces courts chapitres combinent photos, éléments visuels, entretiens et rapports au format traditionnel et sont conçus pour servir aux décideurs politiques dans le cadre de leurs contextes nationaux et toute personne engagée dans le soutien et l’autonomisation des enfants et des jeunes marginalisés partout dans le monde.




Putting an end to the practice of child marriage became an international commitment under Sustainable Development Goal 5 that focuses on empowering girls and women worldwide. Dreaming of a Better Life: Child Marriage Through Adolescent Eyes offers fresh insights and evidence to inform these efforts, based on findings from research and intervention projects funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to investigate different aspects of child marriage. Spanning rural and urban settings across Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, India, Mali, Niger, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Togo and Zambia, the chapters address themes such as adolescent girls’ agency and roles in marital decision-making, teenage motherhood, sexual and gender-based violence against children, and lessons learned from trying to influence policies and implement programmes to reduce child marriage. The short chapters, and mix of photo, visual, interview and traditional reporting formats, are designed to appeal to policymakers in their national contexts, as well as resonate with others committed to supporting and empowering marginalised children and young people everywhere.

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