• Authored By: Deva Sahadevan, Mohammod Irfan, Taylor Hanna, Linda Nakato and Corti Paul Lakuma
28 Apr 2023
  • File Size 802.32 KB
  • Published Apr 28, 2023

Implications of early marriages on development outcomes in Uganda

Early marriage, or child marriage, is considered a human rights violation and a development issue that cuts across cultures, countries, and religions. Defined as any legal or customary union before the age of 18, it is prohibited by international law and is addressed by international conventions and resolutions like the Sustainable Development Goals, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Sagalova et al., 2021).

Despite these efforts, it remains a pervasive practice across the developing world, most prominently in Sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for 35 percent of early marriages globally followed by South Asia at 30 percent (UNICEF, 2021c).

Although rates of early marriage have been declining in the past two decades, it continues to endanger the lives of millions of girls in Uganda. It affects their ability to continue their education, enter the paid labor force and ultimately gain economic independence.

At a societal level, these practices also adversely affect the population demographics and fertility patterns as well as overall educational attainment. Using the International Futures (IFs) forecasting tool, this policy note looks at the implications of early marriage on development outcomes such as population, fertility, and education completion of women.

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