Jordan + 11 more

A Future She Deserves: Ending Child Marriage in MENA

Originally published


The Problem: In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 1 in 5 girls are married before 18 and early marriage is a negative coping mechanism for those affected by humanitarian crises.

CARE’s Goal: By 2025, child marriage will be averted or mitigated for 6 million girls in MENA, especially in conflict-affected communities.

The rate of child marriage in MENA is increasing in conflict-affected areas. As CARE reported in 2015 , this is largely the result of the, ‘fatal confusion between protecting girls and sexual violence’. The need to secure the girls’ honor as a method of securing the family honor is seen across Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon where increasingly also girls from urban communities – areas where child marriage was previously uncommon – are married before they reach 18 years. According to UNHCR (2017 ), the percentage of married underage Syrian females in Jordan increased from 33.1% in 2010 to 36 .2% in 2013 and 43.8% in 2015 . The rates of child marriages among Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey are similar or even higher, but have stayed at the same rates among other nationalities. In MENA, child marriage is also practiced in non-emergency settings; while the drivers are complex and contextual, they often evolve around traditional beliefs and socio-economic factors. Yemen for example already had a 32% child marriage rate (including 11.9 % before the age of 15 ) prior to the war (UNICEF 2017 ).

To impact the lives of 6 million girls, CARE will:

• Innovate and systematize child marriage prevention and mitigation programs in conflict-affected contexts.

• Broker new relationships among women’s movement actors, research agencies, and regional platforms for increased political will, global attention and shared learning around child marriage.

• Convene collective action to introduce new, amend, and strengthen implementation of existing laws and policies around child marriage.

Where we work:

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Turkey, Yemen