Empowering adolescent girls to fight child marriage and its negative effects on reproductive health in Senegal
In 2018, it was estimated that 29% of young women married before the age of 18 in Senegal. The marriage of these young girls is strongly associated with high rates of teenage and unwanted pregnancies, maternal and child morbidity and mortality, and gender-based violence. This has negative intergenerational effects for them and their children. Effective interventions are needed urgently to address this crucial problem.
This project will use participatory action research to understand the links between child marriage and the related reproductive health issues to develop locally relevant interventions to address gender inequalities and reduce the incidence of child marriage, resulting in better reproductive health and the related rights. It will be carried out in four communities — Vélingara, Tambacounda, Matam, and Ndioum — to reflect the cultural diversity of the country.
The project, implemented by the Institute for Training and Research in Population, Development and Reproductive Health (IPDSR) of Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar in collaboration with the JGEN association, will focus on the importance of involving adolescents in research and development of interventions aimed at their own age group. Teams made up of adolescents aged 16 to 18, supervised by a research mentor and a community mentor, will be responsible for collaborating with community actors to collect, analyze, and interpret data and then sharing their findings before proceeding with the design and implementation of interventions aimed at tackling the causes, and the consequences, of child marriage. These interventions will aim to promote the empowerment of adolescent girls as well as the sensitization and mobilization of families and communities to change of attitudes and behaviors vis-à-vis child marriage and gender-based violence.
This study is part of the cohort of five research projects supported by the Program “Improving the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls in Senegal - ADOS” funded by IDRC and Global Affairs Canada. Its implementation will help strengthen national strategies for adolescents/young people, particularly the National Strategy for Adolescent/Youth Health in Senegal and the Strategic Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescents/Youth in Senegal.