Determinants of Structural, Behavioral and Cultural Practices that perpetuate child marriage in Siaya, Homabay and Kisumu Counties in Kenya

Samuel Kemboi Biwott, Benson Okinyi, Angwedh Anne, Asimba Achieng Maureen, Carolyne Datche, Dorcas Khasewe, Ennet Jarald, Everline A. Onyango, Faustine Onoi Ounga, Fredrick Otieno, Jacqueline Chebi, Leon Amiti, Wilson Shankiy, Mercy Chege, Caroline Ruoro


Child marriage infringes rights of children globally, undermining initiatives to raise involvement in education, reduce maternal mortality, increase employment and enterprise levels, and which hindered the achievement of six of the eight MDGs. This practice may affect the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 4 and 5: to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being, for all at all ages, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunity for all and achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls respectively. Child marriage equally undermines progress towards reducing maternal and infant mortality. In Kenya, the prevalence of Child marriage is at 25%. It is higher in rural (27%) than urban (17%) areas with prevalence in Homa Bay County at 58%, Bondo County 45%, and Kisumu 42%.


The holistic approach to sector development was embraced by Kenya as a critical in realizing Vision 2030, the road map for Republic of Kenya/UNESCO, 2012). The Basic Education Act 2013 emphasizes on the basic education which is free and compulsory (Republic of Kenya, 2012). The Free Primary and Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) have led to the improvement of access, retention and equity, Republic of Kenya/UNESCO, 2012). A Triennale Meeting 2012 Towards Inclusive and Equitable Basic Education System: Kenya’s experience estimated the overall dropout rate was 2.3% (Girls=2.1% and boys=2.5%) in 2011. The report indicates that the main factors causing drop out were; poverty (45.5%), pregnancy and early marriage (35.7%) and inadequate parental support (30.3%).


In pursuit of reproductive health agenda Kenya adopted the National Reproductive Health Strategy (NRHS) for Kenya 1997-2010 The priority areas for the strategy include: family planning and unmet needs; safe motherhood and child survival initiatives; promotion of adolescent and youth health; gender and reproductive rights. But despite these initiatives, reproductive health service utilization among the youth still faces a lot of challenges related to the sensitive nature of adolescent sex and sexuality.


WHO2015. Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health highlights negative health outcomes associated with adolescent pregnancy include anemia, malaria, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), post-partum hemorrhage, obstetric fistula, and mental disorders such as depression. The report further shows that 23% of the overall burden of disease due to pregnancy and childbirth is borne by adolescent girls, although they only account for 11% of all births globally. The study was commissioned seeking to provide interpretation to behavioral and cultural practices that perpetuate child marriage.


Marriages, Child, Girls, education, communities, safe spaces and counties

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