Credit photo: Jessica Vassie | Girls Not Brides
Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.
What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?
According to UNICEF, Uganda has the 16th highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world and the tenth highest absolute number of child brides globally – 787,000.
Customary marriages or informal marriages, where a girl lives with an older man, are more common than registered civil or religious marriages.
11% of currently married 15-19 year old girls are married to men who have more than one wife.
A 2017 World Bank study shows that ending child marriage in Uganda could generate USD514 million in earnings and productivity.
Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?
Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Uganda, child marriage is also driven by:
- Level of education: Some parents in Uganda feel that educating a girl is a waste of time and resources when she will ultimately marry and gain lifelong security.
- Poverty: Girls living in Uganda’s poorest households marry at a younger age than those living in the richest households. Some parents see their daughter as a source of wealth as she can fetch bride price from her husband’s family when she marries.
- Family honour: Some families, especially in traditional ethnic communities, marry off their daughters to protect them from early sexual encounters and safeguard the family’s dignity.
- Peer pressure: Pressure from friends to marry, and early exposure to pornography and “experimentation” in adult relationships, have been highlighted as drivers of child marriage in Uganda.
- Displacement: Uganda hosts some of the largest numbers of refugees in the world, including from South Sudan, the DRC and Ethiopia. A 2016 study among internally displaced Ugandans in Mucwini, northern Uganda, and Congolese refugees in Nakivale settlement, found that child marriage provides families with legal protection from defilement (sex with a girl under 18) which is a crime in Uganda. Within the camps, child marriages are organised in a hasty manner.
- Basic needs: Some Ugandan girls marry in order to access sanitary products. Some parents attribute child marriage to moral decay and a “greed” for material things.
- Traditional customs: A 2013 study in Mayuge, eastern Uganda, found that local communities perceived girls to be ready for marriage when they develop breasts. Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) is also considered a sign of readiness for marriage.
- Adolescent pregnancy: In many Ugandan cultures, pre-marital pregnancy is associated with embarrassment, disgrace and curse, which drives some girls to marry. Some girls in Mucwini reported that girls have to “prove” fertility for a boy to marry them.
What has this country committed to?
Uganda has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. During its Voluntary National Review at the 2016 High Level Political Forum, the government provided baseline data on the situation for child marriage.
Uganda co-sponsored the 2013 and 2014 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage, and also co-sponsored the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage. In 2014, Uganda signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.
Uganda ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1985, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.
Uganda is a focus country of the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, a multi-donor, multi-stakeholder programme working across 12 countries over four years.
In 2015 Uganda launched the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.
In 1994, Uganda ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.
In 2010, Uganda ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, including Article 6 which sets the minimum age for marriage as 18.
Uganda is one of 20 countries which has committed to ending child marriage by the end of 2020 under the Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa.
During its 2016 Universal Periodic Review, Uganda supported recommendations to implement the action plan to more effectively combat child marriage.
At the Girl Summit in July 2014, the government signed a charter committing to end child marriage by 2020.
What is the government doing to address this at the national level?
In 2015, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development launched the National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy (2014/15-2019/20), which was developed in partnership with Girls Not Brides members and UN agencies. The strategy has been implemented in 30 districts and an additional 51 districts have been allocated funds to implement Child Marriage Action Plans.
Uganda is a Pathfinder country for the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, and one of 11 countries working to create child marriage-free communities by 2020 as part of the Her Choice Alliance.
Numerous other policies have addressed child marriage, including:
- The National Development Plan 2010-2014/15, which acknowledged that child marriage affects early pregnancies and poor health outcomes for Ugandan women and children, and committed to delay marriages through expanding basic education.
- The Gender in Education Policy (2009), which pledged to facilitate the re-entry of girls who drop out of school as a result of child marriage.
- The National Population Policy (2008), which acknowledged the harmful cultural practices driving child marriage and the need to address them.
What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?
Under the Children Act 2016 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years with no exceptions.
African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [website], 2018, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification (accessed February 2018)
African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [website], 2018, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ (accessed February 2018)
African Union, Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa: Call to Action, 2013,
https://au.int/sites/default/files/pages/32905-file-campaign_to_end_child_marriage_in_africa_call_for_action-_english.pdf (accessed February 2018)
Girl Summit 2014, The Girl Summit Charter on Ending FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, [website], 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/459236/Public_Girl_Summit_Charter_with_Signatories.pdf (accessed February 2018)
Her Choice, Programme, [website], 2018, http://www.her-choice.org/en/her-choice/programme/ (accessed March 2018)
Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern African [website], 2014, http://youngpeopletoday.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ESA-Commitment-FINAL-Affirmed-on-7th-December.pdf (accessed February 2018)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014,
http://fngeneve.um.dk/en/aboutus/statements/newsdisplaypage/?newsid=6371ad93-8fb0-4c35-b186-820fa996d379 (accessed April 2018)
Overseas Development Institute, Adolescent girls and gender justice: Understanding key capability domains in Uganda, 2013, https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8822.pdf (accessed March 2018)
Overseas Development Institute, Adolescent girls in the balance: Changes and continuity in social norms and practices around marriage and education in Uganda, 2014, https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/9180.pdf (accessed March 2018)
Republic of Uganda, NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN (2010/11 – 2014/15), 2010, http://npa.ug/wp-content/themes/npatheme/documents/NDP2.pdf (accessed March 2018)
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The Independent, Underage girls in Uganda being forced into child marriages because they cannot afford sanitary products, [website], 2017, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/uganda-underage-marriages-sanitary-pads-hygiene-products-menstruation-a8016651.html (accessed March 2018)
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Women’s Refugee Commission, A Girl No More: The Changing Norms of Child Marriage in Conflict, 2016, https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Changing-Norms-of-Child-Marriage-in-Conflict.pdf (accessed March 2018)
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Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.
Partenariat national Ouganda
Girls Not Brides Uganda is the official Girls Not Brides National Partnership in Uganda.
- Acacia Tree Child and Family Services
- ACI Finance (U)
- Action for Behavioural Change (ABC)
- Action for Community Development Uganda (ACODEV-U)
- Action for Development in Underserved Areas (ADUA)
- Action for Development of Grassroots Communities (ADEGCO)
- Action for Youth Development Uganda (ACOYDE)
- Africa Community Connect (ACCON)
- Africa Foundation for Community Development (AFCOD-Uganda)
- African Partners for Child Poverty
- African Women Service Trust (AWOST)
- Agape of Hope – Female Youth Development Association
- Agoro Community Development Association
- Alliance for Development (AFODE)
- Allied Youth Initiative
- Amani Initiative
- Amara Hub
- Amref Health Africa
- Association for Community Empowerment Solutions (ACES)
- Basic Needs Awareness Organisation Uganda (BAOU)
- Blessed Child Care Foundation
- Bulogo Women’s Group
- Bunyama Child Care Initiative
- Center for Civic Growth (CCIGO)
- Child Aid Uganda
- Child Care And Youth Empowerment Foundation (CCAYEF)
- Child Link Foundation-Uganda (CLF)
- Child Rights Development Foundation (CRIDEF)
- Child Rights Empowerment and Development Organization (CEDO)
- Coalition of Uganda Private School Teachers Association (COUPSTA)
- Community Awareness and Response on AIDS (CARA)
- Community Care Foundation-Uganda (CCFU)
- Community Empowerment and Education Projects Initiative (CEEPI)
- Community Health Access Foundation Uganda (CHAF-U)
- Community Hope Development Foundation (CHDF)
- Concern for the Girl Child (CGC)
- Eagles Youth Development Initiative (EYDI)
- Educate a Child International
- Education & Development Opportunity
- Efforts Integrated Development Foundation (EINTEDEF)
- Elgon Child Watch Initiatives
- Foundation for Orphans and Vulnerable Communities in Uganda (FOVC-Uganda)
- Foundation for Women in Development-Rwenzori (FOWID-R)
- Girl Child Network Worldwide
- Girl Rescue Foundation (GRF)
- Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU)
- Girls In School Initiative
- Global Batwa Outreach
- Good Samaritan Women’s Project
- Gwanga Power
- Health Care and Social Development Organization
- Health Promotion and Rights Watch
- Help African Girl Child Uganda
- Hope Foundation
- Human Rights and Democracy Link (RIDE) Africa
- Ibanda Child Foundation
- Joy for Children Uganda (JFCU)
- KAANA Foundation for Outreach Programs
- Kids Club Kampala
- Link Community Development (LCD)
- Luhwahwa Youth Development Foundation (LUYODEFO)
- Manafwa Rural Development Initiative (MARUDI)
- MUB – Home Foundation
- Mutyabule Foundation
- Nabirye Foundation
- Network for Community Development
- Pearl Integrated Development Agency (PIDA)
- Peer to Peer Uganda
- People’s Action for Development of Africa (PADA)
- Philomena United Women Art and Craft Group (PUWACG)
- Pick Your Dream – Uganda
- Raising Teenagers Uganda (RTU)
- Rape Hurts Foundation (RHF)
- Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI)
- Rural Focus Initiative Uganda (RUFI-U)
- Rural Youth Initiative for Development (RYID)
- Rwenzori Center for Research and Advocacy (RCRA)
- Rwenzori Peace Bridge of Reconciliation
- Rwenzori Pro-Life & Child care Foundation
- Rwenzori Youth Leaders’ Network (RYLN)
- Save the Marginalised Uganda (STM)
- Scope Foundation
- Seeds for African Children (SFAC)
- Shalom Women’s Development Initiative Agency
- Share Child Opportunity Eastern and Northern Uganda (SCOEN)
- Silcreation Uganda Network (SUN)
- Sule Integrated Development Organization (SIDO)
- Teenage Mothers and Child Support Foundation
- The Hunger Project
- The Rego Foundation
- Train A Child Train a Nation Uganda (TCTN)
- Trust and Care For The Needy Children Ministries Uganda
- Two Hands One Life
- Uganda for her Initiative
- Uganda Girl Guides Association (UGGA)
- Uganda Rural Information and Communication Technology / Education Center (URICT-Uganda)
- Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum (UYAHF)
- Uganda Youth Network (UYONET)
- United Children Integrated Development Action Uganda (UNCIDA)
- Universal Health Development Foundation (UHDF)
- Visionary Lady Foundation (VLF)
- VSO International
- Wakisa Ministries
- Women Empowerment Program (WEP)
- Women of Uganda Network (Wougnet)
- Women Participatory Development Initiative (WOPADI)
- World Action Fund
- Yes Empowerment Services
- Youth Empowerment Trust
- Youth Fraternity for Change (YFC-Uganda)
- Youth Partnership Uganda
- Youth Pot Charity Limited