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USAID Supports Efforts to End Child Marriage in Ethiopia

by USAID — last modified Jan 10, 2013 10:03 AM
Contributors: rhessmiller
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 12, 2007 www.usaid.gov WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), awarded CARE, an international non-governmental organization, more than $1.3 million to implement a three-year program in Ethiopia focused on ending child marriage in the country. The program is specifically designed to educate and encourage change within communities regarding the harmful traditional practices of bride abduction, bride price and early marriage. The Healthy Unions program will be carried out in the Oromiya Region of the country, where 80 percent of the marriages result from bride abduction....

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), awarded CARE, an international non-governmental organization, more than $1.3 million to implement a three-year program in Ethiopia focused on ending child marriage in the country. The program is specifically designed to educate and encourage change within communities regarding the harmful traditional practices of bride abduction, bride price and early marriage. The Healthy Unions program will be carried out in the Oromiya Region of the country, where 80 percent of the marriages result from bride abduction.

Bride abduction is a traditional practice in which a girl, sometimes as young as 10 years old, is kidnapped by a group of young men and then raped by the man who wants to marry her. After the rape, community leaders from the man's village ask the girl's family to accept the marriage. Since the loss of a girl's virginity significantly damages her ability to marry in the view of the community, the family often agrees. The resulting early marriage has devastating effects on the young girl, including an end to her education and exposure to serious health risks such as HIV/AIDS and potentially deadly complications from early pregnancy. Even young girls who are able to avoid bride abduction are significantly affected by the practice, since the fear of bride abduction prompts many parents to withdraw their daughters from school after they reach 10 or 11 years old, ending any hopes of continued education.

Through the Healthy Unions program, CARE and its local partners will work with community members to understand the interrelation of these harmful practices, as well as learn more about the purpose and meanings they have within the culture. In addition, possible non-harmful, healthy "replacement" practices will be discussed. At the same time, CARE will support local leaders and positive change agents within these groups who are open to abandoning these traditional practices.

The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.

For more information on USAID programs in Africa and its programs concerning Women in Development, please visit www.usaid.gov.

The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.

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