Two thirds of girls are married before 18th birthday in Homa Bay, Migori, Meru
Child marriage is the number one driver of teen pregnancies in the country, according to a new report titled the State of Kenya Population 2020.
Analysis of women between the ages of 20 and 49 who got married while they were children, shows that about two thirds become mothers while they were still minors.
The counties that registered the most young mothers as a result of child marriage were Homa Bay, Migori, Meru, Tana River, Kwale, Siaya and Mombasa.
Each of these counties recording an over 70 percent rate of child mothers.
Rural areas had the highest number of child brides with nearly a third of girls married off before their 18th birthday.
Kenya’s child marriage prevalence rate is 23 percent according to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey of 2014.
Tana River, Turkana, Samburu, Wajir, Isiolo and Migori all have a child marriage prevalence rate of above 50 percent.
The combination of child marriage and early pregnancy put the girls’ health at risk, and more likely to have more children in their lifetime.
This would jeopardise their chances of furthering their education, getting a job or ever becoming economically self-sufficient.
As a result they were more likely to experience gender-based violence adversely affecting their mental health.
The report recommended community sensitization on the dangers of child marriage, boosting girl education and their exposure to life skills training.
Ultimately, the government targets to raise the age of first marriage to 23 years by 2030.
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