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Kilifi County has unenviable child marriage record

11 August 2014, 20:40

Nairobi - Kilifi County has emerged with the highest prevalence of child marriages according to latest findings of a survey.

According to Plan International, international children's development organization, the county is ahead of Homa Bay, Kwale, Bondo and Tharaka. "In areas that Plan Kenya works in, Kilifi has the highest prevalence of child marriage at 47,4 percent; Homa Bay stands at 38 percent, Kwale 37,9 percent, Bondo 29,5 percent and Tharaka 25,3 percent," said the Country Director for Plan International, Carol Sherman.

According to Plan International, every year, 43 percent of girls and 1,4 percent of boys in Kenya, some as young as 10 years old, enter into early marriage.

Sherman said that poverty and the lack of economic opportunities, particularly for girls in rural areas are a major contributing factor.

She added that what have become social and cultural norms, and which were not based on any religious teachings, were also contributing to early marriage.

"Practices such as the cutting of young girls (genital mutilation) allegedly make them more desirable for marriage. Once the young girl is cut, she is accepted as a woman even though still a child, and fit for marriage," said Sherman.

Plan International is rolling out a campaign to end early child marriage in Kilifi, Kwale and Homa Bay,  where it is making communities aware of the problems around such a practice and providing mentorship and life skills to adolescent girls to prevent them from being forced into early marriage and ensuring they understand the importance of finishing their education.

 - CAJ

Tags nairobi

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