On 16 August 2017, NCA and UNFPA signed a new project to address early marriage in three districts of the Gambella region with funding worth 146,945 USD ending on December 2017.
The project is part of the global joint programme of UNFPA and UNICEF titled ‘Accelerating Action to End Child Marriage’ and based on the outputs of UNFPA’s 8th Supported Country Programme (2016-2020). It also contributes to the National Agenda to End Child, Early and Forced Marriage by 2025.
An assessment carried out by NCA in June indicated that child marriage is one of the most common forms of harmful practices in the area.
Reasons for why this practice persists includes the need for a dowry, premarital sexual practices that lead to unplanned pregnancy, livelihood/economic reasons, family/peer influences and a misconception that marriage at an older age is considered a sign of promiscuity.
The programme will establish safe spaces for adolescent girls who are at risk of, and affected by, child marriage as well as their parents.
Bezuayehu Tesfaw, Senior Reproductive Health Programme Officer with NCA Ethiopia said:
“It will engage girls age 10 - 19, both in and out of school, and will provide access to life skills and information so that the girls can develop their confidence, voice, and aspirations. It will also enable them to develop social networks, seek advice and information such as family planning/sexual and reproductive health.”
The programme also seeks to build the capacity of religious institutions, school communities and facilitate economic empowerment schemes for girls who are at risk of child marriage.