Child Marriage in Humanitarian Crises: Girls and parents speak out on risk and protective factors, decision-making, and solutions

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Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley,Information and Research Center King Hussein Foundation,Plan International UK,Save the Children

Child Marriage is a well-recognized global phenomenon, which may disproportionately im­pact girls in humanitarian crisis and displacement, such as armed conflict or nature disaster.1 The con­sequences of such marriages are dire. We know that girls who are married young in humanitarian contexts face poorer educational outcomes, seri­ous physical and sexual violence, poor mental and physical health outcomes, and complications or even death in childbirth. Most importantly, it is a violation of girls’ full rights as children. Research to better understand child marriage in settings of crisis has only recently begun to gain traction. Yet, in spite of the recent progress that has been made, there are still significant gaps in the existing literature for practitioners seeking to develop evidence-based programming.

In order to address these gaps, the Human Rights Center (HRC), Save the Children, and Plan International partnered on a long-term research ini­tiative to strengthen child marriage prevention and response in humanitarian settings. This qualitative study, the second phase of the three-phase initia­tive, sought to better understand the risk and pro­tective factors, decision-making processes, service and support needs of girls and their caregivers that contribute to vulnerability to child marriage, and community perspectives on solutions for addressing and responding to child marriage in humanitarian settings.

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