Social justice in the face of early marriages in West Africa
In Senegal and the Ivory Coast, current statistics show that the average age of marriage for girls has risen to over 18 years. However, evaluations of programs that fight early marriage in these countries reveal that these statistics hide significant variations, particularly between rural and urban areas. In fact, unlike their peers in urban areas, girls in rural areas continue to be subjected to early marriage and to see their economic, cultural, and social rights ignored — a situation that reinforces exclusion and inequalities.
A multidisciplinary team from Université Gaston-Berger in Saint-Louis, Senegal, and Université Houphouët-Boigny in the Ivory Coast will devote themselves to determining the underlying reasons for the disparity in the effectiveness of programs that fight early marriage in urban and rural areas. By capitalizing on the achievements and results of previous and existing work, particularly the regional platform of the fight against early marriage in West Africa, national case studies will be conducted and their empirical results will be translated into strategic options, which will be placed at the disposal of decision-makers and practitioners to develop more effective policies and programs to fight against girls' early marriage for greater social equity.
The objective of the project is to propose alternative solutions to the early marriage of girls by generating relevant knowledge about what reduces or perpetuates the practice through the development of inclusive models for action.
The project also involves strengthening the capacities of young girls and boys, who will be equipped with knowledge of communication and advocacy techniques to conduct their own communication activities for social change by targeting decision-makers, communities, and their peers in their own networks and to elicit changes in behaviour and practices to improve the effectiveness of programs that fight early marriage.