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If she gets married when she is young, she will give birth to many kids: a qualitative study of child marriage practices amongst nomadic pastoralist communities in Kenya

Lowe, Hattie, Kenny, Leah, Hassan, Rahma, Bacchus, Loraine J., Njoroge, Pauline, Dagadu, Nana Apenem, Hossain, Mazeda and Cislaghi, Beniamino (2021) If she gets married when she is young, she will give birth to many kids: a qualitative study of child marriage practices amongst nomadic pastoralist communities in Kenya. Culture, Health and Sexuality. 1 - 17. ISSN 1369-1058

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13691058.2021.1893821

Abstract

Child marriage is associated with adverse health and social outcomes for women and girls. Among pastoralists in Kenya, child marriage is believed to be higher compared to the national average. This paper explores how social norms and contextual factors sustain child marriage in communities living in conflict-affected North Eastern Kenya. In-depth interviews were carried out with nomadic and semi-nomadic women and men of reproductive age in Wajir and Mandera counties. Participants were purposively sampled across a range of age groups and community types. Interviews were analysed thematically and guided by a social norms approach. We found changes in the way young couples meet and evidence for negative perceptions of child marriage due to its impact on the girls’ reproductive health and gender inequality. Despite this, child marriage was common amongst nomadic and semi-nomadic women. Two overarching themes explained child marriage practices: 1) gender norms, and 2) desire for large family size. Our findings complement the global literature, while contributing perspectives of pastoralist groups. Contextual factors of poverty, traditional pastoral lifestyles and limited formal education opportunities for girls, supported large family norms and gender norms that encouraged and sustained child marriage.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tchs20/current
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: IGA: Centre for Women Peace and Security
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2021 14:09
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:35
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/111035

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