Contribution to the End of Child Marriages and Teenage Pregnancies in Uganda

Author(s): Harriet Atim Obong
Final project
Year of publication:
Gender and Child Marriage
Number of pages:
Supervisors: Hjálmar Sigmarsson


Child marriage and early teenage pregnancies are gradually growing in the world today. According to UNICEF reports, over 720 million women who are alive today, were married off as children, compared with 156 million men. The number keeps on growing every year. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that by 2021 there will be over fifteen million newly married girls at 14 years. Analysts have detected groups of countries with a rise in child marriages; they are: Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Senegal. Uganda has a total population of 39,032,383, of which 19,525,205 are women, with a high population growth rate of 3.2%. The country also has a high Fertility Rate of 5.87 children for women within the childbearing age bracket. Due to its high fertility rate, Uganda is among the countries in the world with the highest number of teenage girls experiencing early marriages. Statistics show that over 15% of married women between the ages of 20-49, were married off by the age of 15 years and that 18% were married off by the age of 18. (UBOS 2011, UDHS 2011). The prevalence is seen to be highest in Northern Uganda, with an estimated 59%, followed by Western region (58%), Eastern region (52%), East central (52%), West Nile (50%), Central (41%), South west (37%), and lowest in Kampala (21%) (UNFPA, 2013). There are many factors that can lead to child marriages and teenage pregnancies, ranging from individual and social, to customary and cultural beliefs. These factors impact negatively on young girls. This project is designed to address the negative impact on girls as well as to strive to minimize the problem of child marriages and early pregnancies. The objectives of this project are: to raise awareness and commitment among parents, teachers, girls and boys; to stop child marriages and early teenage pregnancies; provide psychological support, legal support, and health care to girls who are victims of teenage pregnancies and early marriages; and to support and empower girls with economic skills that will enable them to take care of themselves and their families. The key project activities are: provision of psycho-social, legal, and health support; facilitation of access to vocational training opportunities for girls, both in and out of school; capacity building of teachers and school staff, and community leaders, in the creation of protective and safe environments for the girls; provision of sexual and reproductive health information for girls in and out of school; access to, and knowledge of, birth control; and to build the capacity of the girls in life skills. The beneficiaries of this project are girls aged between 12 to 15 years, both in and out of school. The project will not work in isolation but will work in collaboration with various stakeholders as well as with existing frameworks.