Child marriage, how much of a concern

Child marriage, how much of a concern

According to a UNICEF study in 2017, a whopping 31% of girls in Cameroon get married before their 18th birthday, while 10% are married before the age of 15. This very prolific phenomenon is mostly witnessed in the country's North, Far North and Adamawa regions. It is possible for a girl’s bride price to be paid even before she sees the light of day. There are a number of reasons which are advanced for early child marriages in these regions in Cameroon amongst which are:

  • Poverty: It’s most likely that girls that grow up in very poor households find themselves getting married before the age of 18, than girls from a rich background because of bride price, which is needed to run the rest of the family.
  • Traditional attitudes: in some parts of the country, tradition holds it that as a woman of a certain age, not being married is equal to being barren, a prostitute or even a witch. Some people feel that a girl should be already living in her husband’s house by the time she sees her first menstruation, thus sending the girl in an early marriage.
  •  Limited awareness: many people have limited information about the harmful consequences of child marriages. They just follow religion and traditional beliefs in other to back up their actions.
  •  Poor imbalance: Some Fulani school of thoughts hold it that, marriages will bring more gifts and good tidings if the girl is a virgin.

Mbua Desmond

Freelance journalist from ASMAC